Advancements in Technology

Corporate Responsibility

Advancements in Technology

Supporting Research and Development (R&D), while developing and adopting innovative technology, drives continuous improvement across our operations. Investments in technology and innovation have long been a priority for Canadian Natural. For instance, leveraging technology is a key part of our GHG emissions reduction strategy. We also focus on managing water usetailings and land, while increasing productivity and resource recovery, and reducing operating costs.

Industry Leading Research and Development

Canadian Natural is a leading R&D investor in the Canadian crude oil and natural gas sector with $3.9 billion invested since 2009. Because we continually evaluate and invest in a wide range of projects and new technologies, Canadian Natural is in a unique position to find innovative ways to improve environmental performance, playing a major role in responsibly meeting the world’s energy needs.

At Canadian Natural, improving oil and natural gas production goes hand in hand with reducing our environmental footprint. Applied technologies and day-to-day operational efficiencies enable Canadian Natural to deliver continuous improvement, adding value in a cost-effective way. Our projects include carbon capture, sequestration/storage and utilization, tailings and water management, and steam efficiencies, transferring technology across the company. Read about them in this booklet:

This funnel shows the current state of new technologies and some examples of continuous improvement opportunities technologies at different stages of readiness, from discovery and design to development and deployment, including Canadian Natural and industry projects.

Many of Canadian Natural’s investments are in collaboration or partnership with the academic community across North America, industry and government, supporting a wide range of R&D disciplines. Collaborations include Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) and and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC). These efforts are accelerating technology implementation and finding innovative solutions to industry‚Äôs environmental challenges.

Culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Supporting innovation and leveraging technology are key to reducing risk and advancing projects to commercialization faster. New technology takes time to test and commercialize, and therefore, working together, coordinating efforts and collaborating is essential to move up the technology curve faster.

As part of driving continuous improvement and accelerating innovation, our technology development model focuses on:

  1. understanding our business challenges and opportunities, 
  2. finding and assessing technology, and 
  3. connecting employees with projects, research and technologies in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Innovation takes place in different ways, from step changes to incremental continuous improvement. We continually evaluate new tools and work to enable people to fully utilize the tools we have in place. We encourage a culture of entrepreneurship where team members are involved in providing and developing solutions, working together with several subject matter experts to maximize opportunities and transfer efficiencies across our operations. For example, advancements in technologies are leveraged for mature assets through continuous improvement initiatives. Read our Technology and Innovation - Case studies for examples. 

To share information and technology proposals, visit our Technology Portal.

Technology and Innovation supporting our business

Innovation and continuous improvement drive sustainable operations and long-term value. Canadian Natural's Technology Innovation (TI) team supports technology development efforts across the Company. The team manages technology information to accelerate technology adoption and strengthen our internal expertise by facilitating internal and external collaborations and coordinating resources and investment. They also manage external partnerships and technical collaborations to support strategic decisions, maintain transparency, and ultimately, drive results. 

For example, senior management and TI support is embedded in our GHG Operations Strategy Committee, which is responsible for overseeing working groups that manage and coordinate GHG reduction and technology projects across our operations. The Committee is also tasked with managing issues and risks (including regulatory and policy awareness) with a consistent approach towards technology deployment and costs. Each working group is supported by TI teams to help connect the areas, advance technologies, and assist each business unit in delivering their emissions reductions projects. For example, the Methane Steering Committee coordinates GHG reduction programs and technologies to reduce venting in our Alberta heavy oil operations. 

Another tool we use to drive continuous improvement is the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) business methodology, to facilitate process integration and improvements in process quality and operational reliability. Technology and innovation are keys to success as we continuously improve in the near-, mid-, and long-term.