A COSIA Newsletter


Issue 02 - May 2014

GHG Environmental Priority Area Update

Carbon Capture and Storage

Shell has contributed their Quest Carbon Capture and Storage project to COSIA’s Greenhouse Gas EPA. The Quest project will capture and store one million tonnes of CO2 per year from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader.

View Case Study
Wayne Hillier

Wayne Hillier
Director, Greenhouse Gases (GHG) EPA

Since signing our Joint Venture Agreement in September of 2013 the Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Environmental Priority Area (EPA) has made tremendous progress in understanding the technologies that are out there and prioritizing which ones we should be focusing on.

2014 has and will continue to be about developing and implementing the strategic plans for the GHG EPA. The first step was to identify our opportunity areas for in situ; energy efficiency, low/zero carbon fuels, carbon capture and utilization, and reducing steam demand for bitumen extraction. These will guide the types of projects we pursue going forward.

We also held a series of member workshops to gain a common and collective understanding of the work companies have done to date on in-scope activities related to GHG reductions. In March, we performed global scans of emission reduction technologies in the four opportunity areas. This gave us a snapshot of all the technologies applicable to oil sands in situ operations.

This process culminated in a two-day strategic planning workshop at the end of April. We took all this work and put it together to finalize our project priority list with our Steering Committee members. Learn more about that process in the article below.

GHG EPA Strategic Offsite Meeting

Perhaps more than any environmental issue, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions lie at the very heart of industry’s ability to responsibly and sustainably develop Canada’s oil sands. COSIA’s GHG Environmental Priority Area (EPA) has taken the challenge head-on by developing an Aspiration, a statement designed to build commitment and direction. It states that COSIA member companies will “strive to produce their oil with lower greenhouse gas emissions than other sources of oil.” But how?

This was the question resonating in the heads of the handful of experienced engineers and scientists who make up the GHG Steering Committee, the EPA governing body consisting of representatives from participating COSIA member companies, as they gathered in Lake Louise on April 28 and 29, 2014.

Their job during the two days was simple – on paper; to identify a portfolio of projects best placed to make the GHG Aspiration a reality. Much of the groundwork for the meeting had been done in the months leading up to the event, through a process called the Accelerated Work Plan. This consisted of four working groups (see below), made up of Steering Committee volunteers.

Inventory Develop an emission inventory and forecast that will serve as a baseline from which to measure future performance.
Performance Goals Develop Performance Goals and Enabling Goals appropriate for the GHG EPA Aspiration.
Technology Review Compile an inventory of existing GHG emission reduction technologies within the priority Opportunity Areas.
Road Mapping Identify the necessary activities that will advance technologies such that they can be demonstrated or deployed in the future.

This enabled the group to come to the meeting with the Opportunity Areas and Gaps, key planning tools lying at the heart of the COSIA Planning Framework, already defined. These Gaps would help the team focus on technology areas that if filled, would have the most impact on making the EPA’s Aspiration a reality.

The team divided itself into groups of about four individuals, self-selecting based on their own area of expertise and interest. Then each group spent around an hour discussing existing and potential technologies and best practises that could be initiated to combat carbon dioxide emissions. Once each team had developed their list, a group representative presented back to the wider group to give them an opportunity to input and challenge. Then the process was repeated – this time focussing on Gaps in other Opportunity Areas.

The first day focused on Gaps that had the potential to deliver results over the short-term (8 to 10 years or sooner), the second day on those producing results after 10 years and beyond.

Observing the lively and constructive debate that continued throughout the two days, it was difficult to believe that this group had only been in existence for about a year. Sharing individual companies’ technologies is not something fierce competitors do. But here they were – industry experts from companies with very different cultures, organizational structures and geographies talking with each about common challenges and potential solutions – all bringing their unique perspectives to bear. This was the essence of COSIA; collaboration in action.

This initial list of projects will form the foundation of the GHG EPA project portfolio. There are many challenges that lie ahead, as the list is reviewed and refined to accommodate factors such as: risk, cost, resource, time for delivery and environmental performance. But the process has begun; a process that has the potential to allow the region to produce oil with lower greenhouse gas emissions than other sources of oil.

Read More about the GHG EPA Strategic Offsite Meeting

The companies can now use that priority list to look internally for Joint Industry Project (JIP) opportunities, which is the first step to getting those priority JIPs brought to the table. Then the “doing” can begin, which is the part the member companies are really looking forward to. Already, we are beginning to see member companies launching JIPs aligned with our priority gaps and opportunity areas.

Now we get to repeat the process for mining and then again for upgrading! More on that in Q3.

In other news COSIA’s GHG EPA sponsored ZERO 2014: A Conference for a Low-Carbon Future. The conference, hosted by the City of Edmonton and the Climate Change Emissions Corporation (CCEMC), took place April 15 to 17 and brought together forward-thinking municipalities and leaders from science, policy, clean technology, industry and government to discuss climate change. It was a great opportunity for us to share COSIA’s story and learn more about what other innovators are working on.

Categories: Director GHG Message