Greening Up The Sands
Back in 2012, when scarcely a dozen oil sands firms accounting for almost 90 percent of all oil sands output formed Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), they changed the industry forever. This is not hyperbole. By moving from competition to collaboration to lighten their environmental footprint, COSIA slashed mining operators’ water use by 30 percent in its first three years.
COSIA allocates research stakes to its member companies in proportion to their production volumes, and collects contributions to its own projects using the same ratios. Sharing practices and technology cuts out duplication, slashes development costs, and each firm gets farther ahead faster than it ever would alone. One of COSIA’s aims today is to bring the oil sands down to carbon emissions parity with other sources of oil around the globe—and then some. It’s an astounding target considering where oil sands producers began. And while many of those producers still have a long way to go, it’s a far less daunting task when you know where you’ve come from—and that you don’t have to do it alone.
COSIA CEO DAN WICKLUM explains why he believes a carbon-neutral barrel of oil isn’t just possible—it’s inevitable.
Dan Wicklum, CEO of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)