Air Water Land - Magazine Contents —October 2008
The oilsands industry is in the eye of a public perception hurricane. Dead ducks, mutated fish, an environmental group withdrawing from a key oilsands non-governmental organization, Greenpeace trespassing onto a mining site to protest—never before have so many people in Canada and around the world been watching the oilsands, whether the headlines are blown out of proportion or not.
There are storm clouds on the horizon, but they are not coming from where you might thinkIt is not so much the American “dirty oil” debate, but rather Canadian government policy that may threaten oilsands development
Storm clouds are gathering above Canada’s oilsands producers as environmental groups and states such as California threaten to restrict or eliminate imports of “dirty oil.” However, it appears that the real threat facing oilsands producers comes from closer to home, from bureaucrats and politicians in Ottawa.
Barriers to captureCarbon sequestration around the world and the challenges it faces in Canada
The pressure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is increasing. At the same time, the world currently relies on fossil fuels for most of its energy. The challenge for many countries is how to reduce emissions while continuing to use fossil fuels. Answering the question is of primary importance in Canada—especially in Alberta.
Emissions trading“Mere puffery” or real change?
We know that the production of western Canadian conventional oil is in decline. The price of gasoline and other fuels is rising, and worldwide demand for fossil fuels and other forms of energy is predicted to steadily increase for the foreseeable future. Also on the rise is public and regulatory concern for the global environment, and mitigating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has climbed to a place of high priority for many.
Why do you think carbon capture and storage is a realistic solution for mitigating rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?
Off-stream storageOilsands miners look at options to manage low flows in the Athabasca
Water use in Alberta is the issue of the decade.
Watershed momentSAGD operators embrace new water treatment options
Mushrooming production, growing strains on Alberta’s water systems, and increasing public concerns about issues such as global warming and water security are putting the squeeze on the oilsands industry. As a result oil companies are focusing on water conservation like never before. So when a new and more water-efficient technology comes along, it’s hardly surprising—once the technology is proven—that companies jump on the bandwagon and adopt it en masse.
What are the biggest challenges producers face when dealing with water use?
Favouring flora and faunaOilsands operators look to reduce impact on Alberta’s lush boreal forest
Much is being said about the current state of the environment in the Wood Buffalo Region where oilsands operations take place. Environmental groups and Albertans alike are concerned about future impacts of intensive oilsands operations on air, water, and land—more specifically, the region’s flora and fauna. But what isn’t being talked about is how much reclamation has already taken place over the decades and will continue well into the future.
Q & ATalking land reclamation with Tanya Richens, Alberta Environment—Northern Region reclamation approvals coordinator
How are long-term impacts considered in the oilsands project application stage?
The lake at the endThe science and evolving practice of applying the end-pit lake to the oilsands
The good thing about being young is that you can do stuff just for fun because you don’t anticipate consequences.