Industry Research Collaboration for Advancement of Knowledge and Practice in Alberta’s In Situ Oil Sands

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Terry Osko

Publication Date:

The industrial Footprint Reduction Options Group (iFROG) is a research collaborative of ten in situ oil sands operators. The group initially evolved from three energy companies and one forest company in 2003 to address poor reclamation outcomes on boreal forest well sites. Boreal wetlands have been iFROG’s focus since 2008. The group has identified three principles to guide selection of research projects to develop, implement, or fund: 1) Land Stewardship, 2) Research Intelligently, and 3) Collaboration. The group has identified gaps in wetland knowledge and prioritized these gaps for research directed at improving in situ oil sands practices with the dual aim of improving ecological outcomes and meeting the intent of provincial regulations. While priorities are multiple, most focus on: • Reducing hydrologic impediment by newly constructed features, • Restoring natural hydrology to reclaimed features, • Re-establishing functional peatlands in altered environments, and • Knowing when successful re-establishment has been achieved. Thus, the primary considerations for both operations and research are: 1) effects of infrastructure on local and regional hydrology, and 2) how to reclaim boreal wetlands and restore natural hydrology where masses of material have been redistributed in the construction of roads, pads, and facilities. iFROG research has produced several scientific articles and contributed to best practice documents. iFROG’s gap identification and prioritization process is described, and several present studies are highlighted to illustrate the advancement of knowledge and best practice development via this collaboration.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program