Oil and gas companies are the largest spenders on clean technology in Canada. Of the approximately $1.4 billion that Canadian companies invest in this space each year, – 75 per cent comes from the oil and gas industry.
At the forefront of that is Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of environmental performance improvement in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. COSIA’s members represent over 90% of total oil sands production. COSIA brings together leading thinkers from industry, government, academia and the wider public to improve measurement, accountability and environmental performance in the oil sands in the areas of greenhouse gases, land, water and tailings.
Since COSIA was launched in 2012, its members have invested $1.6 billion to develop 1,076 technologies to improve tailings management and reduce industrial impacts on air, land and water. $621 million is currently dedicated to a total of 225 active projects. The results are evident. For example, through COSIA, oil sands operators have reduced freshwater use intensity at in situ operations by 44 per cent and reduced their water use intensity from the Athabasca river at mining operations by 22 per cent – all since 2012. Innovations have also resulted in a 20 per cent reduction in GHG emissions intensity from members between 2009 and 2018 (IHS Markit).
COSIA’s globally unique model enables oil sands producers to share and leverage technologies, research, scientific data and intellectual property – resulting in substantial environmental performance improvement. COSIA’s unique “made-in-canada” model provides opportunities for solution providers with capabilities to address key oil sands environmental innovation opportunities.
At the same time, many of the innovations developed through COSIA have potential for applicability in other energy sectors and industries around the world. Collectively, these efforts in research and clean technology demonstrate the potential for reducing climate-impacts while also meeting growing global energy demand.