By NIMA PEYDAYESH, VP Operations, Scovan
Pathfinding, by a computer application or in the physical world, is a process of finding the most efficient route between two points often in a large network or when up against a large challenge. The process usually involves three aspects; pattern searching, sense-making, and nudging. Or rather, sifting through information and facts for patterns, interpreting the patterns and data into strategies that create clarity and then using the information to deliberately advance towards the end goal.
The end goal for our country is net zero by 2050 and we are currently, as a community of energy companies, Pathfinding our most efficient route from our current point to this end point. Canada has joined over 120 countries in committing to the Paris Climate Agreement. We recognize climate change is a critical challenge of our time, and that our industry has an essential role to play in helping our country meet its climate goals.
In past issues of IGNITE we have talked about Scovan’s Innovation Roadmap, our focus on ESG and our continual development of A New Energy future through our Fresh Friday’s initiatives that are meant to drive our innovation culture and the desire to change for the better. In 2021 we, along with six other leading energy sector organizations launched PadX Partnership to accelerate innovation of SAGD well pad design and execution through Western Canada. Together we have worked to develop the next generation of standardized, sustainable and intelligent well pads as a response to the ever-changing energy landscape.
This idea of collaboration and partnership is not unique to our alliance. We recognize other groups working to advance industry such as the Pathways Alliance, consisting of six companies that operate about 95% of Canada’s oil sands production. The vision of Pathways Alliance is: For Canada to meet its climate goals and to become the preferred supplier of responsibly-produced oil to the world.
The Pathways Alliance details their plan on their website as:
Their goal is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions their operations by 2050, while supplying the energy the world needs. Their plan is essential to Canada’s efforts to reach its climate goals, including its net zero by 2050 ambition. By tackling their emissions challenge head-on, they’re working to ensure the oil sands can offer Canada, and the world, a sustainable product and a higher degree of long-term energy stability and certainty. They believe the way forward is through collaboration between industry, government, Indigenous communities and stakeholders.
By the end of the decade, the Pathways Alliance member companies have the potential to generate approximately 35,000 jobs in construction and clean tech, protect 25,000 to 35,000 existing jobs, and add another 1,000 permanent jobs to support our low-emissions facilities compared to a status quo scenario. A healthy, sustainable oil sands industry, that can make meaningful emissions reductions, could contribute an estimated $3 trillion to the Canadian economy over the next 30 years.
They have a three-phased plan to ensure immediate progress to reduce carbon emissions and achieve a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Our plan includes key short-term steps to ensure immediate progress so we can also help Canada meet its interim emissions reduction targets in 2030.
A major component of their plan, and one they can implement the fastest, is carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology. CCUS involves capturing CO2 emissions at the source, then transporting the CO2 to safe storage deep underground in geological formations. CCUS is a safe, proven and reliable technology and Canada is a leader in using it.
In addition to CCUS, they will continue to advance other existing and emerging technologies, such as direct air capture and switching to lower carbon fuels such as clean hydrogen and electricity to power oil sands operations.
Because of the amount of long-term capital investment required to build carbon capture and storage infrastructure, and the speed needed to meet 2030 targets, the countries that are doing this successfully are all using a collaborative model where governments are co-investing alongside industry.
Initially, the Pathways Alliance will focus on building a foundational carbon capture and storage network is a proposed carbon transportation line to gather captured CO2 from more than 20 oil sands facilities and move it to a proposed hub in the Cold Lake area of Alberta for safe underground storage. The line would also be available to other industries in the region interested in capturing and storing CO2.
For more information on the Pathways Alliance visit www.pathwaysalliance.ca
At Scovan, we know advancing innovation and technology to reduce emissions isn’t new to the oil sands industry. We know Canadian ingenuity, leadership and collaboration can solve the climate challenge and the most effective way forward will come from new technologies. Achieving net zero will require collaboration across industry and with many other critical stakeholders including municipalities, Indigenous communities and environmental organizations.
Originally published in Scovan’s IGNITE Vol. 4