Suncor pioneered oil sands development and our early investments in technology helped unlock the potential of the oil sands. Today, technology and innovative thinking remains fundamental to how we do business

Technology and innovative thinking remains fundamental to how Suncor does business, learn more:

Suncor pioneered oil sands development and our early investments in technology helped unlock the potential of the oil sands. Today, technology and innovative thinking remains fundamental to how we do business

Suncor pioneered oil sands development and our early investments in technology helped unlock the potential of the oil sands. Today, technology and innovative thinking remains fundamental to how we do business.

Suncor’s vision and strategy is to look beyond the energy needs of today and understand what is required for the future of sustainable development.

Technology development

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Suncor pioneered oil sands development. Our early investments in technology helped unlock the potential of the oil sands by improving reliability and performance, expanding productivity and driving down costs while reducing our environmental footprint.

Today, new technology and innovative thinking remains fundamental to how we do business. We take a balanced approach to technology development, focusing on both continuous improvement technology (step-change improvements in existing processes) and strategic technology (game-changing, disruptive). Our technology development efforts largely focus on four areas:

  • in situ
  • mining and tailings
  • upgrading and refining
  • closure

Additionally, we target specific outcome areas:

  • regional environmental impact (tailings, water and land)
  • global environment footprint
  • cost management/enhanced profitability

In 2017, we plan to invest more than $200 million in technology development as part of a robust technology strategy to optimize current assets and develop next generation facilities.

In some cases, we aggressively lead development and deployment of new technologies on our own. In most areas, however, we collaborate through consortiums or with third parties. Collaboration is a key enabler to the oil sands industry’s efforts to develop and deploy new technologies.

COSIA

Suncor leads or participates in a number of technology studies and projects under Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an alliance of companies representing 90% of oil sands production. COSIA has world recognized processes that allow participating companies to share effort, and share the resulting technologies and innovations focused on environmental improvements. To date COSIA has been instrumental in:

  • 936 contributed technologies (113 obtained in 2016)
  • $1.33 billion spent to develop technologies ($111 million in 2016)
  • 276 current, active projects (76 obtained for 2016)
  • $680 million cost for current projects in progress ($219 million in 2016)
  • 347 completed projects (119 completed in 2016)
  • $818 million cost for completed technologies ($111 million in 2016)
  • Suncor is the lead for several projects, including the Water Technology Development Centre
  • Suncor is also a participating COSIA member company in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE
  • In 2016, Suncor led 43 COSIA studies and Joint Industry Projects

Read more about COSIA’s environmental priority areas

EVOK Innovations

Suncor is a co-founder of Evok Innovations, along with the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance and Cenovus Energy to accelerate early-stage technologies. Evok brings together British Columbia’s cleantech industry and Alberta’s oil and gas sector to advance new technologies directed at environmental and economic improvements for the oil and gas value chain. Launched in 2016, Evok is a fund that offers innovators mentorship and access to capital to progress development of pre-commercial technologies. An important feature of Evok is the access provided to the end customers (Suncor and Cenovus) at an early stage in the life of the start-up companies.

Through 2016 and in early 2017, six technology companies were funded:

  • DarkVision: high resolution ultrasound-based imaging technology that can be used within the wellbore
  • Kelvin: industrial 3D motion intelligence and asset relationship management
  • Metabolik Technologies: bioremediation platform that enables microbes to reduce the concentration of naphthenic acids and other components found in oil sands tailings ponds
  • Mosaic Materials: removing carbon dioxide and other impurities from gases through high-efficiency metal-organic framework (MOF) adsorbents
  • Opus 12: developing a device that recycles CO2 into cost-competitive chemicals and fuels
  • Rotoliptic Technologies: downhole pump technology as a high efficiency alternative to existing electric submersible pumps

Read more about Evok Innovations

Decarbonization

Suncor is committed to developing technologies that will allow us to produce crude oil from our oil sands resources at a supply cost and with an environmental footprint (production through refining and consumption) at or below that of conventional oil. This could be achieved in part through the selective decarbonization of our oil sands products.

What does this mean?

Bitumen is a complex mixture of chemical compounds, including heavy hydrocarbon components that require significant upgrading and refining before they can be used as gasoline, diesel, or other fuels. Upgrading refers to processes that increase the ratio of hydrogen to carbon in these heavy components; one way to achieve this is by rejecting a portion of the carbon from the bitumen. This ’decarbonization’ could result in higher value bitumen-derived crude oil while simultaneously permanently removing carbon, sulphur, and impurities from the global fuel system. This approach is also expected to reduce diluent required for transportation and lower the downstream processing hydrogen and energy requirements, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions from the overall extraction and processing of bitumen. Our Paraffinic Froth Treatment process at Fort Hills is an example of decarbonization technology.

Decarbonization is a strategic focus area for technology development in Suncor – reliable, less energy intensive processes will be needed to realize the benefits. The result could be a higher value crude oil delivered at a lower cost and with a lower environmental impact from wells to wheels.

Pursuing external technology collaborations

Suncor also monitors technologies being developed by external parties to determine if, and when, an investment by us could make sense to advance the technology and adapt them for our business. This involves funding outside companies whose technology ideas align with the needs of our operations or businesses. Examples include:

  • LanzaTech: a biofuels firm based in the USA that is advancing a proprietary gas phase fermentation technology to recycle waste gas and greenhouse gas emissions into low carbon fuels and chemicals.
  • Benefuel: a technology commercialization company focused on building biodiesel production capacity using cost advantaged feedstock.

This type of technology development is carefully managed to ensure it provides economic and environmental benefits to Suncor. It is a key strategy in a world of fast changing products and services.

Advancing in situ technologies

In 2016, we set a new goal to reduce the emissions intensity of our operations by 30% by 2030 – to meet that goal, we need to go beyond today’s capabilities and technologies.

We are advancing a portfolio of in situ technologies as a means of improving the cost competitiveness and lowering the carbon intensity of producing bitumen. We are using what we have learned implementing steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) over the past 15 years to advance a portfolio of technologies that offer the potential to deliver significant improvements in the following areas:

  • Production rates and resource recovery
  • Energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Water management
  • Capital and operating costs
  • Product quality and value

We think the greatest potential for improvement in these areas is in steam, solvent, electromagnetic energy and surfactants, and we are actively pursuing multiple technologies in this space.

Watch a video about the in situ technologies we’re advancing

To accomplish this, we are pursuing a number of approaches and technologies – some that can be implemented immediately at existing sites and some that will take five or more years to successfully commercialize and may only be used in new field developments.

In the near term, our focus is on a simpler SAGD design that uses less metal, is more efficient and creates a smaller footprint. Through what we call our Next Generation SAGD platform, we expect to see a reduction in:

  • emissions
  • water usage
  • costs

Additionally, we are working on a remote monitoring, control and support system through an Integrated Operating Centre (IOC) from Calgary for our Firebag asset. This approach has the potential to reduce operating and capital costs through a more predictive model and increased cross-functional collaboration using near real-time data to make better operating decisions. This is an example of deploying the latest in innovations in information technology with a new application.

We also see solvent and surfactant assisted SAGD oil recovery as a promising potential solution to reduce energy and water use at our in situ facilities, both for existing operations and for future growth.

In the longer term, we are evaluating and advancing a number of technologies that use less or no steam, through a combination of solvents, solvent steam processes, surfactants, and radio frequency heating techniques. In our view, a likely solution will be a hybrid of the many innovative approaches and technologies we’re testing.

In Situ Demonstration Facility: the next step to commercialize step change technologies

Suncor is currently evaluating the potential to advance our in situ technologies at commercial scale through the development of an in situ demonstration facility (ISDF) at our MacKay River lease. The concept we are exploring is a flexible facility that would be able to support the development of one or more well pads (5-12 well pairs) and the demonstration of multiple in situ technologies using solvent, electromagnetic heating and/or steam.

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Electromagnetically Assisted Solvent Extraction (EASE)

Instead of using steam to heat the bitumen, electromagnetically assisted solvent extraction uses electromagnetic energy in conjunction with a light solvent (like butane or propane) to gently heat and mobilize the bitumen for production. The electromagnetic heating works much like your microwave does; the use of a light solvent significantly reduces the required operating temperatures, offering the potential to eliminate the need for process water and treatment, as well as reduce energy usage and GHG emissions by 50-75% while producing a lighter, less GHG intensive oil at production rates similar to SAGD.

While EASE is a general technology platform, we have done specific work for over four years to advance this technology as part of the Enhanced Solvent Extraction Incorporating Electromagnetic Heating (ESEIEH) field pilot at our Dover site. We anticipate having results from the pilot in 2018 that will allow us to more fully evaluate the commercial potential of the technology.

Enhanced Solvent Extraction Incorporating Electromagnetic Heating Pilot (ESEIEH)

We are part of a technology consortium that is moving forward with a field demonstration at our Dover Site – home of the original steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) demonstration facility – to demonstrate the viability of an innovative in situ production technology.

The field pilot, known as ESEIEH (pronounced “easy”), is a project supported by a consortium of Suncor, Devon Canada, Nexen Energy ULC, Harris Corporation, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (formerly Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC)).

ESEIEH uses wells configured in horizontal pairs much like a SAGD operation. The electromagnetic heating and solvent is introduced to the reservoir in the upper well. Bitumen and residual solvent are produced from the lower well.

If commercially successful, ESEIEH offers a number of potential benefits over conventional SAGD technology, including:

  • reducing energy requirements by up to 75%, which reduces costs and GHG emissions
  • eliminating process water needs, including water treatment and handling equipment
  • significantly reducing the size and complexity of the surface facility, reducing both capital costs and land footprint

The project is currently in the second phase which initially began operations in 2015. Preliminary results are anticipated in 2018.

In parallel with the operation of the pilot, Suncor and Harris have entered into a collaborative technology development initiative to advance the design of the commercial equipment. This is being done in anticipation that the next stage for the technology should the ESEIEH pilot be successful will be the optimization and deployment of a commercial scale demonstration facility.

Nsolv: toward waterless extraction

Starting in 2013, a pilot plant at our Dover lease began field-testing a condensing solvent extraction technology, with the objective of proving the technology for commercial deployment. The NsolvTM process uses the horizontal well technology developed for SAGD, but does not use any water. Instead, Nsolv uses vapourized propane or butane to provide heat the same way steam does. But because this solvent also dilutes and mobilizes the bitumen, reservoir temperatures do not need to be raised above 60°C, requiring up to 80% less energy. This potential energy reduction could have a significant impact on GHG emissions.

The Nsolv technology offers potential economic and environmental benefits. A key feature is that, like ESEIEH, the process produces lighter, de-asphalted, and higher-value oil. In short, leaving some of the higher carbon components behind in the reservoir to lower the GHG intensity of the product. Capital and operating costs could be reduced by removing the water treatment plant and steam boilers; instead, a relatively smaller solvent recovery and solvent vapourization plant is required, which will also reduce the land footprint of the facility. Due to the low temperature and low pressure required for its operation, Nsolv may also allow us to efficiently extract shallow in situ resources which are currently inaccessible.

The Nsolv pilot is the result of collaboration between Nsolv Corporation and Suncor, with support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Emissions Reduction Alberta (formerly Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation).

The Nsolv pilot completed operations, having entered the solvent blowdown phase in the first quarter 2017. Suncor is working collaboratively with Nsolv to evaluate the results from this pilot and to understand how the technology can be optimized in order to advance to the next stage which would be to deploy at a commercial scale demonstration facility.

Visit these websites for more details:

‘SAGD LITE’ Surfactants program: small technology, big benefits

Our SAGD LITE (Less Intensive Technically Enhanced) program refers to technology development where we aim to lower our steam-to-oil ratio (SOR) through the use of surfactants, solvents or non-condensable gas co-injection.

The advantage of our surfactants and solvents program is that it holds the promise of immediate benefits – more efficient oil recovery while using less energy and water – with minimal associated costs or environmental footprint at our existing facilities.

During the producing life of an oil sands reservoir, different techniques can be applied to optimize oil production and recovery. A good example of an incremental technology with the potential to make a big difference is the addition of slight amounts of soap-like additives – surfactants – in the steam for SAGD production. Potentially, a reduction of SOR in excess of 15% will enable more oil production with less steam generation and fluid handling requirements lowering costs and GHG intensity. And unlike other ideas that are more suited to installation at new facilities, SAGD LITE can be deployed at existing operations to reduce our current environmental footprint more quickly.

In 2015, we successfully executed pilot projects testing surfactant technology – one at MacKay River and one at Firebag. One program at MacKay River has been extended to a larger technology demonstration in 2017.

Non-condensable gas co-injection technology

Later in life, mature SAGD reservoirs exhibit declining production and increasing steam-to-oil ratio (SOR). Suncor piloted non-condensable gas co-injection to divert steam from aging wells to newer wells with lower SOR. Methane is co-injected with steam to reduce the SOR while maintaining production and pressure. This technique reduces environmental impact by optimizing steam demand at our facilities while reducing energy intensity and CO2 emissions.

The pilot projects at Firebag and MacKay River have shown encouraging results prompting larger technology demonstrations that are expected to commence operation later in 2017.

Suncor is also examining the use of NCG injection to improve reservoir extraction. By increasing gas cap pressure, SAGD may be able to maintain SOR longer, reducing CO2 emissions. Finally, Suncor is reviewing the opportunity to replace methane with CO2, with the goal of saving costs and sequestering emissions.

Direct Contact Steam Generation (DCSG)

We continue to lead a project investigating the potential benefits of using Direct Contact Steam Generation (DCSG) as an alternative to the existing once-through steam generators (OTSGs) used in steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). This technology, if proven viable, will lower GHG emissions, water and land intensity while improving the economics of in situ projects.

In current SAGD operations, a well is drilled and steam produced in large OTSGs is injected down the well to heat the bitumen until it becomes warm enough to flow. The bitumen and steam (now cooled and turned back into water), are brought to the surface through a second well, and then separated so the water can be used again. CO2 from combustion is released from the OTSGs’ exhaust stacks.

In the DCSG process, the direct contact between water and hot combustion products produces a steam and CO2 mixture that is then pumped underground. The process has the potential to reduce GHG emissions because thermal efficiency is higher than OTSGs and a significant portion of the CO2 may be sequestered underground in the SAGD reservoir rather than emitted to the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. The CO2 can also act as a replacement for valuable methane in late life non-condensable gas co-injection or lean zone mitigation.

DCSG technology also has potential water and land management benefits. The system captures the water from combustion, augmenting conventional recycling of about 90% of the water, and reduces additional water required to replenish the system. If taken from existing tailings water, tailings pond water could be consumed with this technology. Further, DCSGs produce the same amount of steam as a large OTSG, but in a vessel that would fit in a typical office meeting room, opening up the potential for distributed steam generation with a far smaller land footprint than our current large central OTSG facilities and much less heat lost in distribution of the steam.

Suncor is progressing two areas of DCSG technology development. A six-12 month pilot project at MacKay River is currently co-injecting CO2 with steam into one well pair to assess the potential impacts to reservoir performance, determine if production is maintained, achieve a lower SOR and confirm CO2 sequestration potential. Start-up of the field pilot began in the fourth quarter of 2016 and is scheduled to last until the middle of 2017. Results will be available in late 2017.

A second project in collaboration with CanmetEnergy, which began in 2015, will construct a lab pilot in Ottawa. Testing is scheduled to being in 2017 and focus on potential corrosion and its mitigation, fuel efficiency, and optimization of burner design. The lab will enable a long-term controlled testing environment in support of the field demonstration and commercial implementation.

Suncor is also working with CanmetEnergy and other vendors to design the field demonstration of Direct Contact Steam Generation scheduled to begin at Firebag in late 2019 or early 2020. Using produced water from Firebag operations and existing power and fuel sources, this demonstration is intended to determine the commercial viability of DCSG, while injecting CO2 and steam, sequestering most of the CO2 underground and potentially resulting in less GHG emissions, less water use and reduction in land footprint with a vessel smaller than current OTSGs.

Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) Produced Water Treatment pilot project

During 2014-2015, through a Joint Industry Project under Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, Suncor hosted a pilot project with GE Canada, Alberta Innovates, ConocoPhillips Canada and Devon to test new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use in the oil sands.

SAGD operators reuse water as much as possible to create steam, but the water pumped to the surface in the extraction process must be separated from the bitumen and cleaned prior to being recycled through a steam-generator. In 2014, the project tested de-oiling technologies, while in 2015 water treatment membranes were tested at our MacKay River facility. Phase 2 development work progressed throughout 2016, and the final phase of pilot testing onsite is anticipated to occur in late 2017.

These technologies could enable treating and reusing the water more consistently which means being more operationally efficient and requiring less energy.

CO2 capture from hydrogen plants

Capturing, transporting and storing CO2 underground are already being used at various locations as a key long-term tool for reducing large-scale industrial emissions. But current technology remains too expensive to implement on a broad scale.

COSIA’s Greenhouse Gas Environmental Priority Area conducted a carbon capture technology scan to identify early-stage promising technologies with the potential to capture carbon at significantly lower costs compared to the current state-of-the-art technologies.

Several promising technologies have been identified for carbon capture from hydrogen plants (located at upgraders and refineries) through a Suncor-led COSIA Joint Industry Project with Canadian Natural Resources Limited. Further development is underway on a short list of the most promising opportunities. If successful, the technologies could result in significant GHG emission reductions at a much lower cost and environmental footprint.

Advancing surface mining technologies

Our oil sands mining projects are projected to produce a reliable, long-term energy supply while using technology to minimize environmental and social impacts of resource development in the Athabasca Basin region.

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Paraffinic Froth Treatment (PFT)

Our Fort Hills mine will be using Paraffinic Froth Treatment (PFT) to convert bitumen froth generated in the extraction circuit into an upgrader feedstock. In PFT, we selectively reject part of the asphaltenes (a low-value, heavy fraction of the mined bitumen) to create a lighter, higher quality bitumen that requires less diluent to transport by pipeline. PFT also removes the remaining solids and water, leaving us more flexibility for downstream processing. As a result of this partial decarbonization process, we expect to see lower life-cycle GHGs and energy intensity to get our refined products to the market.

Less aqueous extraction

Through partnerships with equipment suppliers and research organizations such as Innotech Alberta (formerly Alberta Innovates), we are pursuing new technologies in surface mining and bitumen extraction that could reduce or eliminate the need for water in bitumen extraction. Currently, hot water is used to separate the bitumen from the sands. If we could reduce the need for water and replace it with an alternative solvent, we may be able to reduce water usage, the need for tailings ponds and potentially our greenhouse gas footprint by reducing operating temperatures and simplifying our overall process.

Froth treatment tails

Froth treatment tailings (FTT) is the smaller of the two waste streams that are generated during processing mined oil sands. The stream is a mixture of sand, water, various minerals and residual hydrocarbons. Some of the components require extra consideration with respect to environmental effects, while some constituents like Rare Earth Elements (REEs) or variations could be potential revenue streams. Suncor is working on technologies to manage both aspects of FTT.

Through COSIA, Suncor is actively collaborating with industry partners to assess long term environmental performance of froth treatment tailings. Of specific interest is the observation that certain microbes are capable of bio-degrading some of the residual hydrocarbons in FTT. If this biological activity can be used commercially, then this would open up new, natural ways to tackle environmental side effects of FTT materials.

In addition, Suncor has recognized that the presence of REEs in froth treatment tailings could mean that these materials could be considered a strategic resource for the 21st century rather than a ‘waste’ stream. Many things we use on a daily basis (from rechargeable batteries and magnets to welding goggles) make use of REEs like vanadium and titanium. Research is ongoing to determine if technologies can be developed that would commercially unlock the value of these elements, while at the same time improving the long term environmental performance of the oil sands deposit.

Autonomous haulage systems

Suncor is the first company to pilot Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology in open-pit mines in Canada. Using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, laser and radar technologies, and proprietary software, the autonomous trucks work reliably and safely around other mining equipment, light vehicles and mine site employees. Suncor's fleet of AHS-capable heavy haul trucks can also be operated in a driver-operated manual mode, if required.

Suncor has partnered with equipment manufacturer Komatsu for this work. Preliminary field trials were completed using a single autonomous truck at Suncor’s base mine in 2013 and 2014. Positive results from the field trials supported the decision to carry out a six truck commercial scale evaluation in Suncor’s North Steepbank Extension mine. The objective of the evaluation, which ran from 2014 to mid-year 2017, was to verify the operational parameters required for broader implementation of AHS technology in Suncor’s oil sands mining operations. Contingent on final project reviews and approvals, AHS technology would be implemented over a three-to-five-year period commencing in the North Steepbank Extension in late 2017. We are also exploring AHS technology for the Fort Hills mine in collaboration with our partners.

Potential benefits of AHS technology include:

  • enhanced safety performance
  • improved operating efficiency
  • reduced fuel consumption resulting in lower GHG emissions
  • lower operating costs

With new technologies like AHS, comes the need for new skills and opportunities to learn. Our training plan will continue to build AHS competency and knowledge. As always, we will work with our employees, partners and stakeholders to develop those opportunities as we adopt technologies to improve our business.

Watch a video about the AHS technology

Permanent Aquatic Storage Solution (PASS)

The Permanent Aquatic Storage Structure (PASS) technology is a Suncor-led research and development project focused on treatment of fluid fine tailings prior to deposition in-pit. The treatment process is intended to accelerate the dewatering and settlement of fine tailings, and immobilizes constituents of concern such that the deposit is ready for aquatic reclamation into a lake capable of supporting a freshwater ecosystem, shortly after the end of mine life.

As we progress this technology, we are using our knowledge from our Tailings Reduction Operation (TRO), consolidated tailings (CT), waste water treatment, and through shared knowledge at COSIA. Several elements are progressing in 2017 with an aim to deploy a commercially-ready technology in the field by 2018 and to share the research results with COSIA member companies.

Watch a video about the PASS technology

Read more about oil sands tailings technology

Advancing land reclamation

We’re aggressively working to accelerate the pace of progressive reclamation of disturbed land at our mining and in situ locations.

Nikanotee fen

In 2013, Suncor became one of the first companies in the world to complete reconstruction of this type of wetland in co-operation with numerous university researchers and consultants across the continent. Research is showing that the fen (a form of wetland area that is a highly productive and diverse ecosystem) is remaining wet through the seasonal weather cycles, water quality is good and plants are growing and spreading naturally.

Read more about the Nikanotee fen and other reclamation activities

Safety and technology

At Suncor, technology and innovative thinking isn’t limited to improving our environmental impact or reducing costs. Our unwavering commitment to safety is embedded in our approach to operational excellence which means operating in a way that is safe, reliable, cost-efficient and environmentally responsible.

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Wireless badge program

Suncor's safety-first thinking has initiated the implementation of a program which aims to enhance worker safety and improve efficiency. These wireless badges are equipped with Radio Frequency ID technology that transmits to a site wireless network, similar to a wireless network at home. The site wireless network provides near real-time location information; detailing accuracy within 30-50 feet of the actual location. Each badge has a panic button that can be used in the event of an emergency (where radio or phones are not an option) for workers to receive emergency response to their location. Data from the badges, such as near real time location, is used at an aggregate level to better understand mass movements of workers to identify improvements.

We began piloting the wireless badges in 2015 at planned maintenance events at Base Plant, and following successful implementation, the badges are now mandatory personal protective equipment during a maintenance event at that facility. In May 2016, we undertook a major planned maintenance at one of our upgraders which required additional personnel on site.

The wireless badges proved to be very beneficial during our response to the wildfires in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in spring 2016. We were able to confirm through the badge dashboard that more than 1,000 individuals were evacuated from the Upgrader within 30 minutes, helping to ensure our workers were safe. 

In 2017, we assisted Syncrude in implementing the same technology for selective areas. Based on our successful implementations, we will continue to look for opportunities to implement this technology in other parts of our business.

Wireless gas detection monitors

In our continued efforts to drive strong safety performance, we introduced more sophisticated gas detection monitors with enhanced detection features as part of employees’ personal protective equipment in 2015.

These monitors have since been worn by employees and contractors in selective areas of our upgrading facilities. The monitors are equipped with a tracking device and can detect hazardous levels of certain gases or solvent vapours in the air. Elevated levels of these gases or vapors or unusual periods of employee inactivity trigger an alarm which alerts emergency management services staff and operations personnel in our control room enabling us to locate the employees immediately and ensure their safety. The monitors also feature a ‘panic’ button which employees can activate any time if they require emergency assistance. Feedback from our employees indicates these monitors provide them with some comfort, knowing someone would be notified and respond immediately if needed.

Since first introducing the monitors in 2015, we have continued to work with the service provider to improve the technology to account for such factors as the harsh weather conditions in northern Alberta. Based on the positive results we have seen to date, we plan to expand the use of the gas detection monitors to the rest of the upgrading complex later this year and consider further implementation in other areas of the company. 

Technology in our lubricants business

Our technology story isn’t all about oil sands exploration and production.

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Lubricants technology: the CIVITASTM example

We develop and license a range of patent-protected plant health products in global markets. Among them are the CIVITAS line of products which are marketed under the Intelligro brand, the lawn and agriculture product brand of Suncor**. CIVITAS TURF DEFENSE is a cutting-edge protection product for use on golf courses and sports fields. This environmentally responsible product works to improve plant health by enabling the plant to better withstand the impacts of stress, including the ability to tolerate limited water conditions, and provide a more durable playing surface while controlling disease.

We will continue to research and develop these environmentally responsible products to ensure we maximize potential value.

CIVITAS WEEDfree BRAND Concentrate

CIVITAS WEEDfree BRAND Concentrate** is a revolutionary approach to broadleaf weed control. The innovative microtechnology enables the product to penetrate more effectively into broadleaf weeds, resulting in no offensive odour and significantly less active ingredients (less than 70% compared to other leading herbicide products) required to control weeds right down to the root. This hybrid selective herbicide provides effective, resourceful weed control.

CIVITAS WEEDfree BRAND Concentrate selective herbicide is available to professional lawn and landscape companies across the U.S. and Western Canada. It’s also available to golf courses across Canada (pending municipal restrictions).

™ Trademark of Suncor Energy Inc.

**In early 2017, Suncor sold Petro-Canada Lubricants Inc. (PCLI) to HollyFrontier. While PCLI will continue to market the CIVITAS line of products under license, Suncor remains the owner of the intellectual property of the products marketed under the Intelligro brand.