Oil Sands News Releases
New energy regulator seeks leaders (December 11, 2012)
Edmonton ... The Alberta government is looking across Canada to recruit the leaders of the new agency that will regulate oil, gas, coal, and oil sands development in the province. The Alberta government is recruiting a chair and executive officer who will first serve on a transition committee, and then move into permanent roles as the Chair of the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Alberta to establish arm's-length environmental monitoring agency (October 17, 2012)
Board appointed to begin work immediately for Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Edmonton... Alberta will build the most comprehensive environmental monitoring program in Canada with the establishment of a new arm’s-length environmental monitoring agency. The agency will be built on credible science, research and data collection. This is the key recommendation of the independent Environmental Monitoring Working Group report released by the Alberta government. The new science-based agency will begin work in the oil sands region and will focus on what is monitored, how it’s monitored and where it’s monitored.
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has issued Decision 2012 ABERCB 009, which approves Enbridge Inc. applications to construct and operate two pump stations and a pipeline that would transport diluted bitumen from Fort McMurray to Sherwood Park. The proposed pipeline route generally parallels several existing pipelines and is approximately 385 kilometres in length. It is proposed to transport an initial capacity of 400 000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen containing no hydrogen sulphide. Albertans help shape responsible growth for oil sands region (August 22, 2012)
Lower Athabasca Regional Plan(LARP) comes with input of thousands
Edmonton... Alberta’s first regional plan sets strong environmental limits, conserves sensitive lands, provides certainty to industry, diversifies the economy and offers numerous recreational opportunities in the Lower Athabasca region.
Energy regulator and independent party to review pipeline safety (July 20, 2012)
Calgary... Alberta’s Energy Minister Ken Hughes has requested that the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) retain an independent third party to examine elements of the province’s pipeline system. The ERCB will examine how pipeline integrity is managed, how safety of pipelines crossing water ways is ensured, and how responses to pipeline incidents are handled. Minister's information
Early improvements in place for oil sands monitoring program (July 16, 2012)
Fort McMurray... Today, Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent, and Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen toured several of the new oil sands monitoring stations now in place in the early stages of implementation of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring.The program is designed to provide an improved understanding of the long-term cumulative effects of oil sands development. “The Alberta oil sands are a key driver of the Canadian economy. They are currently responsible for over 400,000 jobs,” said Minister Kent.
Experts begin work on designing improved provincial environmental monitoring system (March 13, 2012)
Group will focus on governance and funding issues
Edmonton... The Government of Alberta has named a group of experts to provide detailed advice on establishing a province-wide comprehensive environmental monitoring system. The working group will focus on developing an implementation plan based on previous recommendations from the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Panel: establishing a system with appropriate transparency and scientific oversight to carry out environmental monitoring, evaluation, and reporting functions; and providing a dedicated, stable revenue stream to fund monitoring, evaluation, and reporting activities across the province.
Alberta welcomes oil sands alliance on environmental issues (March 1, 2012)
Edmonton... Alberta Environment and Water Minister Diana McQueen issued the following statement in response to the announcement of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), a consortium of industry members dedicated to environmental performance in the oil sands.
Immediate action taken to boost environmental monitoring (February 14, 2012)
Edmonton... Environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting across Alberta will be bolstered with $11 million in new funding for monitoring stations, increased sampling, and additional scientific capacity and oversight for the province. An enhanced provincial system will improve Alberta’s ability to detect and manage the cumulative effects of increased development and ensure resources are managed responsibly.
Fort McMurray... A new advisory committee will review and will make recommendations to the Alberta government on the current and future transportation needs of the Athabasca oil sands region. The committee of municipal, industry and provincial representatives will take into account the region’s unique economic and infrastructure needs and the importance of the oil sands to the province’s economy.
New portal allows easy extraction of oil sands data (November 10, 2011)
Site makes Alberta industry information more transparent
Edmonton... A new, one-stop web portal makes it easy to find detailed information on the environmental performance of Alberta’s oil sands facilities. Searchable data highlighting such things as facility-specific water use, greenhouse gas emissions, tailings pond size and land disturbance and reclamation is part of Alberta’s ongoing work to make oil sands information more open and transparent. Province supports six innovative energy projects (July 14, 2011)
Calls for another round of applications
Edmonton... The Government of Alberta is funding six innovative energy projects through the ground-breaking Innovative Energy Technologies Program (IETP) as part of its commitment to establish the province as a world-class centre for responsible energy development.
ERCB reports drilling doubled in 2010 (June 8, 2011)
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has released its annual report Alberta's Reserves, Supply/Demand Outlook. The ERCB report is a source of information on the state of reserves and the supply and demand outlook for Alberta's diverse energy resources: crude bitumen (up 8% from 2009), crude oil (down 0.4% from 2009), natural gas, natural gas liquids, coal, and sulphur.
New ERCB toll-free energy information line, 1-855-297-8311 (May 19, 2011)
The ERCB’s Customer Contact Centre addresses close to 20,000 inquiries each year in an effective and streamlined manner. Call-centre professionals are trained to assist callers on a variety of matters pertaining to oil and gas development in Alberta.
Province outlines long-term development plan for Alberta's oil sands (February 12, 2009)
20-year strategic plan outlines vision for sustainable and responsible growth
Fort McMurray... The Government of Alberta has released a comprehensive 20-year strategic plan for Alberta’s oil sands that aims to reduce the environmental footprint, optimize economic growth, and increase the quality of life in Alberta’s oil sands regions. “When it comes to Alberta’s oil sands, we believe that Canada can be a leader in finding innovative ways to ensure both economic growth and greater environmental protection,” said Lloyd Snelgrove, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Oil Sands Sustainable Development Secretariat.
Regional plan supports conservation and economic growth (April 5, 2011)
Edmonton... The draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan provides a blueprint for vigorous economic growth, vibrant communities and a healthy environment in northeast Alberta for decades to come. With oil sands production expected to double within the decade, the draft regional plan will conserve more than two-million hectares of habitat for native species. It will increase recreation and tourism opportunities, plan for infrastructure and put strict environmental limits in place for air, land disturbance and water. It is the first regional plan developed under Alberta’s Land-use Framework.
Minister Renner responds to federal water quality monitoring plan for oil sands region (March 24, 2011)
Plan will inform work already underway by Alberta
Edmonton... Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner issued the following statement in response to the release on March 24 of a water monitoring plan for the oil sands region, led by Environment Canada.
Scientists call for increased oil sands water monitoring, more analysis (March 9, 2011)
More work required before conclusions can be drawn about impacts, says committee
Edmonton... Alberta’s water monitoring data review committee recommends comprehensive monitoring, more rigorous scientific analysis and new monitoring objectives in order to gain a better understanding of environmental impacts in the oil sands region. A committee of six independent scientists from across North America was asked by the Premier in September 2010 to examine the data, the committee suggests that more work is needed.
ERCB addresses statements in Natural Resources Defense Council pipeline safety report (February 16, 2011)
The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is concerned that a report on pipeline safety issued this morning by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) contains misleading statements on pipeline safety in Alberta and on the characteristics of diluted bitumen. The report implies that the Alberta pipelines have had a higher pipeline failure rate than the U.S. due to leaks caused by internal corrosion from transportation of diluted bitumen (DilBit). The NRDC’s analysis of published ERCB pipeline data is flawed, leading to misleading and incorrect conclusions.
Bitumen refinery agreement promotes value-added development (February16, 2011)
Heartland project supports carbon capture for enhanced conventional oil recovery
Edmonton… The Alberta government has successfully negotiated contracts for two projects that will advance upgrading and refining of bitumen in Alberta, increase supplies of diesel fuel and enhance Alberta’s position as a secure supplier of clean energy. The first project with the North West Upgrading / Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) Partnership will lead to construction of a new bitumen refinery in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, northeast of Edmonton, as part of the government’s bitumen royalty-in-kind (BRIK) initiative.
Joint Review Panel Issues Report on TOTAL Joslyn North Mine Project (January 27, 2011)
The Joint Review Panel (Panel) established to review the Joslyn North Mine Project (the project) has released Decision 2011-005, which grants conditional approval to Total E&P Joslyn Ltd. (Total) to construct and operate the project. The project would include construction, operation, and reclamation of an oil sands surface mine and bitumen extraction facility to be located about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray with initial operations planned for 2017. The project would increase Alberta’s approved mineable project area by about seven per cent.
ERCB conditional approval of final two tailings plans ends initial phase of Directive 074 (December 17, 2010)
Calgary... The ERCB has conditionally approved the final two tailings plans submitted under Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes. The CNRL Horizon and Shell Jackpine plans represent the seventh and eighth tailings plans submitted to the ERCB by five oil sands operators in total. To date, the ERCB has conditionally approved tailings management plans for the Suncor Millennium/Steepbank, Suncor Fort Hills, Syncrude Mildred Lake and Aurora, Imperial Kearl and Shell Muskeg River projects.
Province announces three-point incentive program for energy sector (March 3, 2009)
Short-term initiative to stimulate new and continued economic activity
Edmonton…The Government of Alberta has announced a new three-point incentive program designed to help keep Albertans working in the province’s energy sector during the current global economic slowdown.
ERCB conditionally approves Suncor plan to reduce fluid tailings (June 17, 2010)
Calgary, Alberta... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has conditionally approved a plan by Suncor Energy Inc. for improving fluid tailings management submitted under Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes. The ERCB has also approved construction and operation of Suncor’s first-time commercial application in the oil sands of new technology designed to reduce fluid tailings volumes.
Regulatory efficiencies improve Alberta’s oil and gas competitiveness (June 14, 2010)
Task force reports significant progress on regulatory enhancement
Calgary... Substantive actions to improve Alberta’s competitiveness are highlighted in the 90-day progress report of Alberta’s Regulatory Enhancement Task Force. The task force reports that ongoing savings in time and cost for both industry and government are being achieved while protecting public safety, conserving resources and ensuring industry complies with Alberta’s strict environmental standards. Awards recognize environmental leadership in Alberta (June 11, 2010)
Alberta government sponsors awards honouring environmental excellence
Calgary…Suncor, Pacific Industries and Innovative Pipelining Strategies recognized in two new award categories sponsored by the Alberta government at the 19th Annual Emerald Awards ceremony June 10th in Calgary. Province begins negotiations for new bitumen refinery project (May 18, 2010)
Carbon capture-ready refinery planned for Industrial Heartland
Edmonton…Negotiations are underway to build a new bitumen refinery project in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, northeast of Edmonton, as part of the government’s Bitumen Royalty-in-Kind (BRIK) initiative. The 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery proposed by North West Upgrading, to be built in three stages, will also include the application of newer technologies and an integrated carbon capture and storage capability to reduce CO2 emissions.
Province issues RFP to upgrade bitumen royalty-in-kind (July 21, 2009)
Initiative will spur new investment in value-added activity
Edmonton... To increase bitumen upgrading capacity, enhance Alberta’s value-added activity and strengthen Alberta’s economy, the Alberta government has issued a Request for Proposals to process a share of royalty bitumen within the province.
Emissions from oil sands comparable to other crude oils (July 23, 2009)
Calgary... Two independent studies have found direct emissions from producing, transporting and refining oil sands crude are in the same range as those of the other crudes refined in the United States.
The Life-Cycle Analysis of North American and Imported Crude Oils is based on two independent studies that comprise the first robust comparison of domestic, imported and oil sands crude processes in U.S. refineries. The research, conducted over the past year by U.S.-based consulting companies Jacobs Consultancy and TIAX LLC, was funded by the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI).
Government moves forward on carbon capture projects (June 30, 2009)
Edmonton... The Alberta government has completed its evaluation of projects applying for $2 billion in funding for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.
As a result, government officials will pursue letters of intent with proponents of the three following projects:
- Enhance / Northwest for The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line
- EPCOR/Enbridge for an integrated gasification combined-cycle carbon capture power generation
- Shell Canada Energy/ Chevron Canada Ltd./ Marathon Oil Sands L.P. (Scotford Upgrader)
Alberta's Bitumen Production Forecast To Continue To Grow (June 10, 2009) ERCB release
Alberta expected to produce over 3 million barrels of oil per day by 2018
Calgary, Alberta... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has released its annual report Alberta's Reserves 2008 and Supply/Demand Outlook 2009-2018. Based on the ERCB’s own geological and technical analysis, this report is a source of information on the state of reserves and the supply and demand for Alberta's diverse energy resources: bitumen, crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, coal, and sulphur. It includes estimates of reserves at December 31, 2008 and a 10-year supply/demand forecast for each resource. A supply/demand forecast of electricity in Alberta is also provided. The report also includes historical data for energy resources production.
Oil sands developer commits to upgrading capacity (March 23, 2009)
Fort Hills Energy will reimburse Alberta taxpayers if plans fall through
Edmonton... Alberta is poised to see an increase in its oil sands upgrader capacity. In an agreement reached late last week, the Fort Hills Energy Corporation committed to increase upgrading capacity in Alberta in exchange for an extension of two oil sands leases 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. If the company is unable to follow through on its value-added plans, it will reimburse Alberta taxpayers up to $500 million in lost revenue.
ERCB and Alberta Environment call for input on thermal in situ oil sands water use (February 18, 2009)
New directive to save an estimated 220.5 million barrels of fresh water over 10 years
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and Alberta Environment are calling for feedback from stakeholders on a draft directive, which proposes new requirements for the measurement, reporting, and use of water in thermal in situ oil sands operations that will save an estimated 220.5 million barrels of fresh water over the next 10 years.
Government of Alberta and Syncrude reach new Crown agreement (November 18, 2008)
Syncrude partners agree to pay $975 million in additional royalties
Edmonton...The Government of Alberta and the Syncrude joint venture owners have reached an agreement that will see the owners pay $975 million in additional royalties beginning in 2010 through 2015. This provides for full implementation of the New Royalty Framework by 2009 and meets the government’s objectives for negotiated revisions to Crown agreements.
Energy Minister to showcase Alberta’s commitment to responsible energy development at World Petroleum Congress in Spain (June 23, 2008)
Minister will also speak to investors in London, England
Edmonton… Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight will highlight Alberta’s work to ensure the sustainable development of our resources at the World Petroleum Congress June 29 – July 3 in Madrid, Spain. Knight will present a keynote address at the congress on July 3 and will also travel to London, England to speak to the business community at the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce on July 7.
Announcement follows analysis of New Royalty Framework unintended consequences
Calgary... The Government of Alberta has introduced two new royalty programs designed to encourage the continued development of deep, high-cost oil and gas reserves. The resulting exploration and development are expected to generate additional jobs and royalty revenues for Albertans.
Province to improve royalty system evaluation and public reporting (April 7, 2008)
Edmonton... The Government of Alberta will implement 13 recommendations to enhance how the performance of the royalty regime is measured and how that performance is reported back to Albertans.
The recommendations were included by former provincial Auditor General Peter Valentine in his report Building Confidence: Improving Accountability and Transparency in Alberta’s Royalty System.
Ottawa/Edmonton — The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Mel Knight, Alberta Minister of Energy, today released the final report of the Canada–Alberta ecoENERGY Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force. The report, entitled Canada’s Fossil Energy Future: The Way Forward on Carbon Capture and Storage, provides advice on how governments and industry can work together to facilitate and support the development of carbon capture and storage opportunities in Canada.
Canada's Fossil Energy Future
Suncor to pay up to 20% more royalties under new agreement (January 29, 2008)
Negotiations continue with Syncrude Canada
Edmonton... The Government of Alberta and Suncor Energy Inc. have reached an agreement that will see the company pay increased royalties starting in 2010—a full six years before its existing Crown agreement was scheduled to expire.
Province supports new projects to study innovative energy development (November 13, 2007)
Edmonton…Two new and innovative projects that will explore environmentally sustainable ways to recover previously untapped energy resources have been given the green light thanks to an investment by the Alberta government.
The projects focus on developing new energy supplies from existing oil and bitumen deposits. The projects will receive royalty adjustments totaling about $16.5 million under Alberta Energy’s Innovative Energy Technologies Program (IETP).
Province to capture feedback on royalty recommendations Government also hearing from industry as part of thorough analysis (September 25, 2007)
Edmonton... To capture all the feedback on the royalty review recommendations, the Alberta government has set up a special website for Albertans to send in their comments. “The decision on the royalty report will affect Alberta and our energy sector for decades to come,” said Premier Ed Stelmach. “While the formal consultation is over, we have not stopped listening. We want to make sure that people who have comments send them to the right place so we can consider this input as part of the review process.”
Royalty Review Panel final report released to public
Government to respond by mid-October (September 18, 2007)
Edmonton... The Government of Alberta has publicly released the final report of an expert panel asked to examine the province’s energy royalty and tax regime, following through on a commitment to make the royalty review process open and transparent. Entitled Our Fair Share, the 104-page report provides recommendations about how the government can modify the existing provincial royalty structure.
Final oil sands reports set a framework for the future (July 25, 2007)
Edmonton... Setting out a vision and identifying principles to guide the future development of Alberta’s oil sands are highlighted in the Oil Sands Consultations Multistakeholder Committee (MSC) Final Report and the Aboriginal Consultation Final Report.
Energy sector teams up to tackle labour challenges (July 10, 2007)
Calgary... Alberta's energy associations and employers are taking action to address labour shortages with the release of A Workforce Strategy for Alberta's Energy Sector which contains 46 new actions for recruiting, retaining, and developing the workforce.
Second Phase of Oil Sands Consultations Scheduled for Eight Communities (March 22, 2007)
Edmonton... A Multistakeholder Committee is moving ahead with the second phase of consultations to hear from Albertans on oil sands development. Slated to begin March 28, the Oil Sands Multistakeholder Committee (MSC) will again travel throughout the province to share the findings gathered in the Phase I Interim Report and garner additional feedback from Albertans.