Research Collaboration Improving Industry Performance

Corporate Responsibility

Research Collaboration Improving Industry Performance

Collaboration is playing an important role in ensuring our industry is sustainable and competitive for years to come. Together, our work is improving industry’s collective performance so we can meet Canada’s and the world’s energy needs for the long-term. Our industry was founded on technology and innovation, and joining forces with our peers is helping to ensure it remains sustainable and productive for years to come.

Our work with COSIA

Canadian Natural is a founding member and active participant in Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an alliance of Canada’s largest oil sands producers, collaborating on innovations to accelerate the pace of environmental performance improvement in Canada’s oil sands. Since its inception in 2012, COSIA members have collectively shared more than 1,140 distinct technologies worth $1.8 billion to develop, with a focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, tailings, water and land.

To date, Canadian Natural has shared $168 million in tailings, $115 million in water, $42 million in GHG and $41 million in reclamation research and innovation through COSIA. In 2020 alone, we led 43 projects, and participated in another 31 projects at COSIA. For example, we lead projects in the areas of:

  • Tailings management 

    Researching carbon dioxide (CO2) injection and dewatering technologies to treat tailings. 
  • Area Fugitive Emissions Measurement 

    conducting pilots to help enhance the accuracy of GHG emissions measurements from industrial sources to improve emissions reduction strategies. 
  • Reclamation and biodiversity protection

    leading area-based abandonment programs, acoustic recording wildlife monitoring and seed collection. 
  • Saline water treatment 

    piloting to treat saline waste-water treatment to replace fresh water in some of our operations.

Find more about these projects is available in our Technology and Innovation case studies.

Oil sands operators are demonstrating that energy growth and reduced environmental impact is possible. More information about industry’s solutions for sustainable oil is available in the 2020 COSIA Annual Report.

Converting Carbon into Usable Products

On the journey to net zero emissions, Canadian Natural is searching for transformational, creative solutions to reduce GHG emissions. We supported the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE global competition that challenged the brightest minds and innovators around the world to develop new technologies to transform waste carbon/CO2 emissions from industrial facilities into useable products, such as enhanced concrete, liquid fuels, plastics and carbon fiber. These breakthrough technologies were tested at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC).

Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN)

The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is an industry-led network launched in 2017 that leverages large-scale collaboration and aligns research and technology priorities. It brings together the entire oil and natural gas industry and the sectors that are necessary to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies (service companies, private and public innovators, think tanks, investors, policy makers and academics) with a vision that Canada is a global leader in producing clean hydrocarbon energy from source to end use. To learn more about CRIN, watch this video.

Other Collaborations

For over 20 years, the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) has been facilitating innovation, collaborative research and technology advancement to support the responsible development of Canada’s energy resources. Through PTAC, 500 new R&D projects have been launched to date, with a realized value of almost $133 million per year in the last five years. PTAC draws from industry, academia and government expertise to solve some of industry’s biggest challenges, and provide tools and science-based guidelines to run our day-to-day business. Canadian Natural has collaborated with PTAC on projects that improve reclamation methods and reduce venting of natural gas.

In 2018, Canadian Natural also joined the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) to support the funding of cleantech innovation and advance technology that will improve environmental performance and reduce GHG emissions in the natural gas sector.

Another example of our collaborative approach is support for early-stage technology research. For example, we are investing in research projects on CO2 capture technologies for oil sands operations at the University of Calgary through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). We are also supporting industrial research at the University of Calgary, University of Alberta and Athabasca University, in addition to other centres of excellence like Materials and Reliability in Oil Sands (MARIOS) and PTAC.

For more information on our technology projects, read our Technology and Innovation Case Studies booklet