An industry-led effort to reduce the environmental impact of oil-sands production may generate new business areas for Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), designated Chief Executive Officer Steve Williams said.
Suncor, Total SA (FP), BP Plc (BP/) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) are among the 12 companies that agreed today to pool resources to reduce water, air and land pollution from bitumen extraction in Alberta.
“This is unprecedented in the world in any industry, this degree of collaboration,” Williams said in an interview in Calgary. “That model is very interesting for lots of our initiatives.”
Oil-sands producers have come under pressure from some groups about the effect the process has on the environment. Extracting the bitumen creates toxic waste ponds, causes the destruction of forests and animal habitats and increases greenhouse-gas emissions, the nonprofit energy-sustainability group Pembina Institute said in a 2011 report.
The industry group, known as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, will share technology and processes in the areas of greenhouse-gas emissions, water use, land reclamation and ponds used to store toxic waste from mining bitumen.
There may be opportunities for new business areas or applying the collaborative process to other industries, said Williams, who will take over as CEO from Rick George after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May. Williams now serves as chief operating officer and president of the Calgary- based company.
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