The Canadian and Alberta governments and three energy companies said on 11 May that they will spend CAD 70 million (USD 51.14 million) to develop three new clean technology projects, aimed at cutting costs and carbon emissions in the country’s oil sands.
Northern Alberta’s vast oil sands hold the world’s third-largest crude reserves but are costly to operate and require carbon-intensive production methods, factors that have prompted a number of international oil majors to pull back from the patch in recent months.
The sector is now concentrated in the hands of a smaller pool of domestic players, who have repeatedly said technology will be the key to remaining competitive.
Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources is contributing CAD 26.2 million in funding under its previously announced Energy Innovation Program, which has CAD 50 million over 2 years to support the development of clean oil and gas technologies.
Provincial government-funded agency Alberta Innovates will invest CAD 5.2 million, while the three companies involved—Cenovus Energy, MEG Energy, and privately held Field Upgrading—will provide the additional CAD 43.3 million.
“Innovation like this is critical because, while the transition to a low-carbon future is well underway, the world will continue to rely on fossil fuels for years to come. Our responsibility is to make them cleaner,” said Canada’s Minister for Natural Resources Jim Carr.
The funding will help take all three technology projects toward the commercial demonstrations stage.