Research Collaboration

Leading Industry Innovation

Collaboration is playing an important role in ensuring our industry is sustainable and competitive for years to come. Working together with industry peers and other stakeholders 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.

Pathways Alliance

Significant collaboration across industry and governments will be essential to accelerate the path to net zero. This is why Canadian Natural, along with Canada’s largest oil sands producers, formed the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative in 2021 ― now called the Pathways Alliance.

The goal of this unique alliance, working with the federal and Alberta governments, is to achieve net zero GHG emissions from oil sands operations by 2050 to help Canada meet its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net zero aspirations.

By working together, we have developed an executable plan that can help us collectively be more effective and efficient from a time and cost perspective for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects. As a group, we are leveraging our R&D investments, knowledge and experience towards our work in the Pathways initiative.


Canadian Natural is a founding member and active participant in Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), which now falls under the umbrella of the Pathways Alliance. The organization includes Canada’s largest oil sands producers, who are collaborating on innovations to accelerate the pace of environmental performance improvement in Canada’s oil sands. Examples of projects Canadian Natural has led include:

  • researching carbon dioxide (CO2) injection and dewatering technologies to treat tailings; 
  • conducting pilots to help enhance the accuracy of GHG emissions measurements from industrial sources to improve emissions reduction strategies;
  • leading area-based abandonment programs, acoustic recording wildlife monitoring and seed collection; and
  • piloting to treat saline waste-water treatment to replace fresh water in some of our operations.

Find more about these projects in our Technology and Innovation Case Studies Booklet.


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

Canadian Natural is proud to partner with PTAC, NGIF and several other organizations to create a brighter future for our industry.

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