Project Research

The documents below relate to various interest areas that COSIA is involved in with external partners.

Visit the Caribou Knowledge Extension Library to find reports and research on caribou protection and restoration.

Predictive Simulations Using the 3D Regional Groundwater Solutions Groundwater Flow Model Southern Athabasca Oil Sands

In-situ oil sands producers in the South Athabasca Oil Sands (SAOS) region use non-saline and saline groundwater for makeup water. For continued development of their projects, operators must understand the long term usability of the aquifers and potential interactions from other operator activities.

To advance the understanding of water resource utilization and management, COSIA undertook the Regional Groundwater Solutions (RGS) project which used a numerical groundwater flow model to simulate the head distribution within the key aquifers used for oil sands water withdrawals and disposal within the SAOS.

The attached report, “Predictive Simulations Using the 3D Regional Groundwater Solutions Groundwater Flow Model Southern Athabasca Oil Sands”, documents the results of the RGS project. 

Partners: Matrix Solutions
Category: Water
Hydrogen from Hydrogen Sulphide
DeLude Consulting Inc. was engaged by COSIA to provide a technology scan and evaluation of the potential future options for producing hydrogen from hydrogen sulphide. Each independent scan approach yielded acceptable results with significant overlap of identified technologies. The use of the combined approach has some value in providing assurance that the scan is comprehensive. The combined technology scan results identified a wide variety of potential technologies / approaches for the generation of hydrogen from hydrogen sulphide.
Partners: Delude Consulting Inc.
Category: GHG
Prioritizing Zones for Caribou Habitat Restoration in the COSIA Area v2.0

This report is Version 2.0 of a project designed to prioritize townships for the restoration of caribou habitat in northeast Alberta. Version 1.0 was completed in July 2016. It was recognized at the time that several iterations were needed to incorporate new information and as new ideas were developed. This report (Version 2.0) is intended to be a stand-alone product, but for the full context, Version 1.0 can be used as a reference (ABMI 2016).

The objective of this project was to prioritize townships for the restoration of caribou habitat in northeast Alberta. The study area included five caribou ranges (Red Earth, Richardson, West Side Athabasca River, East Side Athabasca River, and Cold Lake) that were subdivided into townships for analysis.

Advanced Steam Generation: Technologies for Canadian Oil Sands

Members of COSIA’s GHG Environmental Priority Area seek to identify promising alternative steam generation technologies that can be used in Canadian oil sands operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. COSIA  undertook research to identify these technologies, undertaking a world-wide search to analyze the technology space and identify providers that are well positioned to bring the technology to market.  The study focuses mainly on SAGD.

Category: GHG
Regional Geochemistry Study for the Southern Athabasca Oil Sands Area

In-situ oil sands producers in the Southern Athabasca Oils Sands (SAOS) region use water consisting of saline or non-potable groundwater from deep aquifers for production. Individual operators have completed groundwater isotopic studies within their project areas and adjacent surrounding lands.  While this individual data is valuable for improving the understanding each project area, the limited scope and geographic locations of each study prevent the true value of the data from being realized.

COSIA identified this as an opportunity and commissioned a report that pooled individual COSIA operator data to form a regional dataset that also includes similar public datasets. The result is an aggregate isotope and geochemistry dataset that is unprecedented, both in terms of the amount of data and the regional geographic extent.

Scan and Evaluation of Natural Gas Decarbonization Technologies

In an effort to reduce GHG emissions from steam boilers, COSIA’s GHG EPA members are seeking to better understand the landscape of natural gas decarbonization pathways and technologies.

In 2015, COSIA commissioned Alberta Innovates to generate the report “A Review of Natural Gas Decarbonization Technology for Application in SAGD Steam Generation” which provided a review of the technologies COSIA had received through its Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP). This largely consisted of different processes to partially oxidize natural gas into carbon and synthesis gas. COSIA wished to identify all thermodynamic pathways available to decarbonize natural gas and thus commissioned this work. This study looks to understand the current state of knowledge on the different classes of technologies as well as build off the previous work done to date.

Category: GHG
In Situ Wetland Reclamation Guides: Guide for Reclaiming Aggregate and Borrow Excavations to Water Bodies

In situ oil sands operators are regularly undertaking small and large scale reclamation projects of in situ pads, roads, and aggregate and borrow excavations. Typically this work is undertaken by individual companies based on their own understandings of reclamation best practice.

This Land Environmental Priority Area (EPA) Led Study was prepared for COSIA to provide broad guidance for reclamation on in situ facilities. Its goal was to produce guidance to be used for planning, reporting and on-the-ground reclamation of wetlands, which could eventually be used as basis for wetland certification. Two guides have been produced as part of this EPA-led study, with the hope that they can be used as a starting point in future reclamation projects.

This guide presents current knowledge, recent research and best practices employed in the oil sands region of Alberta and abroad. Aggregate and borrow excavations can range considerably in depth. The guidance can be applied to water bodies ranging from shallow, non-permanent wetlands to small ponds and lakes. In all of these systems, the vegetated zone (defined as the area of the water body that has less than 2m of water depth) is most critical from and ecological and biodiversity perspective. Correspondingly, this document focusses on the design of this zone, irrespective of water body depth.

Partners: CPP Environmental
Category: Land
In Situ Wetland Reclamation Guides: Reclaiming In Situ Pads and Roads to Peatlands

In situ oil sands operators are regularly undertaking small and large scale reclamation projects of in situ pads, roads, and aggregate and borrow excavations. Typically this work is undertaken by individual companies based on their own understandings of reclamation best practice.

This Land Environmental Priority Area (EPA) Led Study was prepared for COSIA to provide broad guidance for reclamation on in situ facilities. Its goal was to produce guidance to be used for planning, reporting and on-the-ground reclamation of wetlands, which could eventually be used as basis for wetland certification. Two guides have been produced as part of this EPA-led study, with the hope that they can be used as a starting point in future reclamation projects.

This guide was prepared for COSIA to document, in one place, pilot projects conducted in Alberta for the reclamation of in situ facilities placed in peatlands. These pilot studies were carried out to evaluate the feasibility, cost and future performance of the reclamation techniques employed. Eventually, the state of practice will reach the point where the reclamation of pad and road sites to peatland may be ready for large-scale implementation.

Partners: CPP Environmental
Category: Land

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