Oil Sands Alliance to focus on energy industry sustainability, advancing net zero ambitions

Canada’s largest oil sands companies have formed a new advocacy group that they say will help drive sustainable development and power their industry.

The Oil Sands Alliance was formed on January 1st, and its membership consists of oil sands producers Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc. and Imperial Energy Ltd, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, and ConocoPhillips.

It is not clear whether the new organization will engage in political pressure or how exactly it will be organized.

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Al Reid, director of the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance – which, along with other already existing groups such as the Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA), the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), and the Oil Sands Regional Operational Alliance – is overseen by the new organization – He said more details will be released soon.

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However, he said all companies participating in the new oil sands alliance would remain active members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a broader industry organization that is the largest oil and gas lobby group in the country.

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While the CAPP will continue to have a broader oil and gas advocacy mandate for Canadian oil and gas producers, the new Oil Sands Alliance will “lead the work on oil sands.”

“As Canada’s largest petroleum supplier, oil sands faces unique challenges and opportunities in the broader oil and natural gas industry,” Reid said in an emailed statement.

“We know this requires a level of focus and work that requires the specialized focus of our industry group.”

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Reed described the level of cooperation between oil sands producers at the moment as “unprecedented”.

Through the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative — announced last year by the same companies that make up the new Oil Sands Alliance (plus MEG Energy Inc., which is not involved in the new group) — major companies in the industry have publicly pledged to work together. To reach the net greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

The industry’s vision for reaching this goal is based on a proposed major Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) transmission line that would capture carbon dioxide from oil sands facilities and transport it to a storage facility near Cold Lake, Alta.

CCUS is a technology that captures greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources and stores them deep underground to prevent their release into the atmosphere.

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Proponents say a significant expansion of carbon use and storage in the oil and gas industry will be necessary if Canada is to meet its climate goals. The federal government has proposed tax relief for CCUS projects, and oil sands producers have been in talks with Ottawa about the details of this credit.

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In December, Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said in a conference call with analysts and journalists that CCUS is not, at this point, an economic technology on its own and that any widespread adoption by the industry would require “significant government support.”

In an interview on Friday, Keith Stewart, chief energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said it’s clear the oilands players have done everything on “net zero” and the creation of the new advocacy group is likely aimed at helping deliver those messages and secure government support for reservation projects. carbon.

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But Stewart said the problem with the term “net zero” is that companies are talking about reducing the net emissions from their operations, not reducing their overall production of fossil fuels.

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“I don’t think anyone should be confused by this layer of green paint, until they actually change their business plan to go along with the phase out of fossil fuels in the coming decades,” Stewart said of the newly formed industrial group.

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