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.

Regional Water Management Initiative

The Regional Water Management Initiative project was carried out by COSIA between 2012 and 2015. The project’s objective was to explore opportunities to manage water in the Athabasca Oil Sands production region, seeking opportunities to minimize negative environmental net effect through the development of regional water reuse networks. The project was intended to extend the body of knowledge and the development of tools necessary to evaluate regional solutions. Inside a sustainable water management framework for the oil sands, the regionalization of water systems represents one potential type of reuse application to be evaluated against a range of alternatives.

The project looked at three types of potential collaborative networks:

  • Mine Oil Sands Process Water (OSPW) to In Situ Make-up
  • In Situ Blowdown Regional Disposal
  • Mine Depressurization Deep Well Disposal


Category: Water
Caribou Recovery Pilot Project: Summary Report

The intent of the Caribou Recovery Pilot Project (the Project) is to further develop the concept of a predator-free fenced area to support a small breeding subpopulation of woodland caribou within their natural habitat in northeast Alberta (the Pilot). The purpose of the Pilot would be to improve caribou survival and productivity inside a predator-free fenced area and to translocate caribou born within the exclosure to reinforce extant local population(s). The Pilot is proposed as one conservation management tool in a suite of complementary recovery actions for boreal caribou that may be endorsed and implemented by the Government of Alberta (GoA) as part of caribou action and range plans.


REDES Inc., EcoBorealis Consulting Inc., Schaldemose & Associates Inc.Schaldemose & Associates Inc.

Category: Land
Caribou Recovery Pilot Project: Aboriginal Engagement Report

The Project proposes to advance the concept for building a large fenced area, safe from predators, that will provide a controlled environment to increase the productivity of caribou and establish a viable population as part of an integrated solution for caribou recovery.

Aboriginal communities located in close proximity and whose important traditional use areas encompass potential candidate areas were identified as potentially having a keen interest in the design and planning of the Pilot, particularly as it may relate to Aboriginal and Treaty rights, caribou as a key cultural species, and opportunities in implementation.

Category: Land
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.


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.

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