The oil sands industry near Fort McMurray and throughout the province does not always garner a positive reputation. The area has been booming, and indeed there is need for more housing and apartments in Fort McMurray. Though the industry has been the primary source of economic prosperity in the region many of its critics feel that those fortunes have come at a price to the environment. A group of companies has joined together to change those opinions. The Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) is a collaborative network between ConocoPhillips Canada, Nexen Inc., Shell Canada, Statoil Canada, Suncor Energy Inc. and Total E&P; Canada.
The OSLI was chartered in 2010 with the goal of improving the reputation of the oil sands industry by "demonstrating and communicating environmental, social and economic performance and technological advancements." According to its 2013 report titled "The Evolution of Collaboration," members of OSLI exchange ideas and evaluate methods to address shared challenges in non-competitive areas of their operations. By pooling their resources, they can develop, field test and commercialize solutions to these challenges much quicker than working in isolation.
OSLI strives to, among other things, create zero waste ecosystem regeneration, develop new energy sources and improve drilling techniques. Since its founding, the group says it has begun work on 50 projects. The OSLI is divided into working groups that focus on four key areas:
(1) The Land Stewardship Working Group (LSWG) initiates projects to reduce the impact of oil sands development on the landscape and wildlife of this picturesque region. Its projects include processes for re-vegetating land and protecting caribou and their native habitat.
(2) The Water Management Working Group (WMWG) works on projects to improve overall water management throughout the oil sands region, through more efficient processes, new technology and looking at the overall water usage of the entire industry instead of just individual companies.
(3) The Technology Breakthrough Working Group (TBWG) is working toward developing new energy sources for steam generation, improving drilling techniques for in situ wells and creating value in the waste streams of both mining and in situ operations. The group investigates technology enhancements that will improve both the economic and environmental performance of oil sands in situ and mining development.
(4) The Sustainable Communities Working Group (SCWG) collaborates with leaders in the oil sands region to create safe, healthy and sustainable communities. Its goal is to create a new model for how companies and communities interact, which has led to two pilot programs in Janvier and Fort Chipewyan.
The oil sands industry came together even stronger last year with the formation of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). This organization is comprised of representatives of 14 oil sands companies, including the six members of OSLI. COSIA focuses completely on industry improvements that positively impact the environment in four areas: tailings, water, land and air.
While OSLI's Technology Breakthrough group and Sustainable Community Group will continue working under the umbrella of OSLI, the Water and Land Management groups will transition to COSIA. The latter organization has working groups dedicated to algar restoration, caribou protection, mammal counting, regional water management, water treatment and several other initiatives.
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Information about industry and housing in Fort McMurray. Additional information on Fort McMurray apartments can be found at our website.
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