Dr. Dan Wicklum, Chief Executive of COSIA, helped launch the alliance on Mar. 1st in Calgary. Photo credit: COSIA
There are already several other industry groups, committees and research and development organizations on the scene pursuing various improvements. In fact, the growth in industry associations over the last four decades has easily outpaced the growth in the industry itself.
With the landscape so well populated, it’s no surprise COSIA’s unveiling has been greeted by some industry critics with a cynical “here we go again.”
But as Suncor’s president and chief operating officer Steve Williams and leaders of the other 11 COSIA member companies will undoubtedly assert, COSIA is different from anything previous.
Overall, COSIA represents an unprecedented level of collaboration for the industry. It builds on work done over the past several years by the industry and research and development organizations, including the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) collaboration.
Comprised of Suncor and five other like-minded oil sands companies, OSLI was quietly formed in April 2010 to improve industry environmental performance.
In addition to OSLI, COSIA builds on advancements achieved by other associations, including the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development, the Oil Sands Tailings Consortium and the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada.
With multiple companies and associations all coming together sans barriers of funding, intellectual property and human resources, it’s no wonder many in Suncor referred to COSIA during its planning stages as “OSLI on steroids.”
Aside from the magnitude of collaboration, COSIA is different on a few other fronts.
- Oversight of COSIA and work on its focus areas of tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases will come directly from oil sands industry chief executives, who have a knack for getting things done.
- COSIA is single organization with a clear line of sight to performance improvements, including yet-to-be-determined performance goals for each of the focus areas.
- COSIA will enable industry players to work together to avoid duplication of effort, share collective expertise and build on one another’s successes to improve environmental performance and the pace of performance delivery by the industry.
- COSIA also provides one-stop shopping for anyone within or outside of Canada with ideas or potential solutions for advancing performance in the focus areas.
While COSIA can’t claim to be first organization created to tackle the environmental impacts of oil sands development, we think it is well-positioned for success.