Producers active in the oil sands of Canada will collaborate to improve environmental performance under a new group to be led by a former official of the federal government.
According to a press statement, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) “will help the industry address environmental challenges by breaking down barriers in the areas of funding, intellectual property enforcement, and human resources that may otherwise impede progress on environmental performance.”
The alliance said it will build on experiences of existing organizations including the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development, Oil Sands Leadership Initiative, and Oil Sands Tailings Consortium.
COSIA said it will work with industry, government, and community representatives to seek progress in what it calls environmental priority areas: tailings, water, land, and greenhouse gases.
“Our approach will bring multiple companies together to share intellectual property related to the environmental priority areas in a manner that continues to value and protect corporate technologies but still provides for access to other companies which can apply and build on these technologies to improve environmental performance,” COSIA said.
Chief executives of 12 companies representing 80% of Canadian oil sands production have signed the COSIA charter. The companies are BP Canada Energy Co., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc., ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp., Devon Canada Corp., Imperial Oil, Nexen Inc., Shell Canada Energy, Statoil Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., Teck Resources Ltd., and Total E&P Canada Ltd.
Dan Wicklum is the COSIA chief executive, accountable to the executives who signed the charter.
Holder of a PhD in aquatic ecology from the University of Montana, Wicklum worked in academia until joining the federal government in 2000 as a senior policy advisor to the Canadian federal minister of natural resources. He later became director of strategic alliances for Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service.
He launched and became executive director of the Canadian Forest Innovation Council before joining Environment Canada. Among other positions there he was director general of wildlife and landscape science and director general of water science and technology.
Wicklum also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Guelph and a master’s degree in aquatic ecology from the University of Calgary.