CALGARY – This week, about 1,400 young delegates representing oil and gas companies, policy groups and universities from more than 60 countries descended on Calgary for the World Petroleum Council Youth Forum to discuss such topics as technical innovation, business leadership and sustainability. During the opening ceremony on Oct. 22, Alison Redford, the Premier of Alberta, touched on these issues while also touting her province’s recent strides in the energy industry.
“Through the innovative energy technologies program, my government supports research and projects that are aimed at improving production efficiency and reducing environmental impacts,” Redford said. “Several of the projects in the latest round of funding have the potential to dramatically reduce the need for fresh water as part of the extraction process, and one, Imperial Oil’s cyclic solvent process, could largely eliminate it.”
She also mentioned a project being developed by Cenovus Energy that uses a new method of steam production for more efficient processing. Company officials claim it can “significantly” reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Redford added that Alberta, which holds the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, was the first jurisdiction in North America to pass climate-change legislation that requires large emitters of greenhouse gases to reduce emissions.
“The province has collected more than $300 million from emitters to date, and we’re putting that money to projects that focus on clean energy technology today,” she said.
The provincial government also supports the creation of the first new refinery to be built in Alberta in 30 years, Redford said. The $5.7 billion, diesel-producing Sturgeon facility will be the first refinery in the world to be built to be carbon-capture-ready. “Thousands of tons of carbon dioxide captured each day from the bitumen that’s refined there will be sent by pipeline to mature oil fields to be injected into the ground to enhance oil-recovery rates,” she said.
Redford called on government and the industry to work together to develop energy, make it safe and sustainable, and educate the public on the benefits of an energy economy.
“We can and we should share our best practices and technologies,” she said. “We have a responsibility to do that as Canadians, and we have a responsibility to do that as citizens of the world: to ensure that we are developing our resources sustainably and responsibly, and to create progressive regulatory regimes to maintain the social license necessary for expanding production.”