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Market News

 March 02, 2012
Canadian oil sands producers launch environmental performance alliance

 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."

Launched on March 1, 2012, the alliance was created in recognition of the need to meet the public's expectations of the industry. The alliance will bring together leading thinkers from industry, government, academia and the wider public, building on previous collaborative successes.

Jean-Michel Gires, President and CEO 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.

In a statement released by COSIA, a commitment was made "to take innovation and environmental performance in the oil sands to the next level through a continued focus on collaboration and transparent exchange."

To this end COSIA will set environmental performance goals and report publicly on progress towards these goals "by breaking down barriers to innovation, and by identifying, developing and applying solutions-oriented innovation to the most pressing oil sands environmental challenges." 

"The true value of COSIA is reflected in its members' commitment to a greater level of collaboration. COSIA brings industry together through a common goal of improved environmental performance. By pooling our resources, we want to drive innovation and accelerate environmental performance across the entire sector," said Steve Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer, Suncor Energy, who will be a speaker at the GLOBE 2012 Opening Plenary.

Environmental Priority Areas 

COSIA intends to  develop and implement performance initiatives focused on driving accelerated progress in four key Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs): tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases.

Working with various industry, government and community stakeholders we will improve performance, measurement, reporting and accountability in the four priority areas. 

Its work program will build on the experiences and successes of existing organizations including the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD), the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) and the Oil Sands Tailings Consortium (OSTC).

Members of the new alliance include  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.

Structure and Governance

COSIA is led by a Chief Executive (CE), Dr. Dan Wicklum, who is accountable to the signatory company Chief Executive Officers. Work in the EPAs within the alliance is overseen by working groups composed of shareholder company experts.

Wicklum, a former professional football player, holds a Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology (University of Montana, 1998) and served as Executive Director of, The Canadian Forest Innovation Council before joining Environment Canada in various senior science management roles including Director General of Wildlife and Landscape Science and Director General of Water Science and Technology. 

The EPA groups will create Joint Industry Projects (JIPs), which will draw on input from others including company and government representatives and other stakeholders. Collectively these groups will work together to accelerate performance in the Environmental Priority Areas.

The EPAs will report to the Chief Executive, and through him outward to the shareholder companies.

More information on COSIA is available here . A video presentation of the COSIA launch is available here