Canada’s oil sands producers launch environmental performance alliance

Dr. Dan Wicklum becomes Chief Executive of new environmental innovation organization

Calgary, March 1, 2012 - Canada’s oil sands producers have formed a new alliance, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), focused on accelerating the pace of improving environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands.

Chief executive officers of 12 companies have signed the alliance’s founding charter, committing to COSIA’s vision to “enable responsible and sustainable growth of Canada’s oil sands while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation.”

The creation of COSIA as an independent alliance builds on work done over the past several years by both oil sands industry members and research and development organizations. COSIA will take these efforts to a much larger scale and will help the industry address environmental challenges by breaking down barriers in the areas of funding, intellectual property enforcement and human resources that may otherwise impede progress on environmental performance. COSIA’s collaborative approach will accelerate the discovery and development of environmental technologies and reduce the time from idea to implementation.

“The public’s expectation of environmental performance in the oil sands continues to evolve. We want to meet those expectations and we’ll work collaboratively to do so, building on previous successes,” said John C. Abbott, Executive Vice President, Heavy Oil, Shell Canada Ltd. “Coming together today to sign the charter is a significant and important step for all our companies and marks a pivotal point for our industry.”

COSIA also today announced Dr. Dan Wicklum as the Chief Executive of the new alliance. Dr. Wicklum has a background in environmental science and was selected following a national search. His scientific qualifications and leadership experience position him well to lead COSIA, a science-based alliance focused on environmental technology and innovation.

“I am confident COSIA will greatly accelerate innovation and environmental performance in priority areas that Canadians care most about,” said Dr. Wicklum. “Today is just the beginning and I am excited to be part of this new alliance. We understand we have a lot of work to do and we are looking forward to working with our stakeholders and reporting on our progress along the way.”

COSIA will establish structures and processes through which oil sands producers and other stakeholders can work together for the benefit of the environment. The alliance will identify, develop and apply solutions-oriented innovation around the most pressing oil sands environmental challenges, specifically water, land, greenhouse gases and tailings, and will communicate COSIA’s efforts and successes in addressing those challenges.

Jean-Michel Gires, president of Total E&P Canada Ltd, says COSIA creates a new dynamic for the oil sands industry, promoting new approaches for intellectual property management of environmental technology and better working relationships with universities, research agencies, technology providers, regulators and oil sands stakeholders in the communities where industry operates.

“COSIA is a reflection of how the oil sands have evolved into a global resource, with companies committing to foster continuous innovation and the development of new environmental solutions. We have seen what can be achieved when we work together and multiply our ideas and efforts. For example, work done by the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) and the Oil Sands Tailings Consortium (OSTC) are already delivering technology that promises to reduce our environmental footprint. We want to build on these previous successes across COSIA’s environmental priority areas and accelerate the improvement of our environmental performance,” Gires said.

N. Murray Edwards, Vice-Chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Limited, says COSIA’s collaborative approach is the right one.

“For our industry to make strides in innovative technologies concerning environmental performance, we will have to work together to achieve continuous improvement. COSIA is the right organization at the right time and we are very pleased that it is now in place."

Companies participating in COSIA will contribute at varying levels to the alliance, based on their own areas of expertise. COSIA will rely on the input of scientists and engineers from within the ranks of the member companies, as well as leading thinkers from government, academia and the wider public.

There are currently 12 companies which have signed the COSIA Charter. They are:

BP Canada Energy Company

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Cenovus Energy Inc.

ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp.

Devon Canada Corporation

Imperial Oil

Nexen Inc.

Shell Canada Energy

Statoil Canada Ltd.

Suncor Energy Inc.

Teck Resources Limited

Total E&P Canada Ltd.