The Canadian Club of Halton Peel hosted Stuart Lunn, PhD, Senior Environmental Advisor, Imperial Oil. Canada’s Oil Sands: Responsible Development: A fascinating and informative evening, Stuart Lunn helped to demystify many of the issues that surround the oil sands and to assure the fascinated crowd that the environmental challenges are receiving meticulous attention. Stuart Lunn has worked for Imperial Oil for 14 years and is their top specialist on water issues in the exploration and development of Canada’s oil sands.
Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world. Located mainly in Alberta, Canada’s oil sands are enormous and hold 97% of the reserves. According to Stuart Lunn; “This is why Canada has the opportunity to fill the important supply gaps and is uniquely positioned to provide an abundance of safe, secure energy”. He says, “As an industry we have to do more. New technology and innovation are critical to developing the oil sands and improving environmental performance.”
The oil sands are natural sand deposits that are saturated with oil (bitumen), mixed with water, clay, and sand. Where the oil sands are close to the surface, the oil can be recovered by mining using shovels and trucks. However, only 3% of the oil sands are close to the surface. The majority of the bitumen is found deeper underground.
Bitumen is oil that is too heavy or thick to flow or be pumped without being diluted or heated. At 10C degrees the bitumen is as hard as a hockey puck. That means that 97% of the oil sands are recoverable only through in-situ drilling methods that use advanced technology to inject stem, combustion or other sources of heat to warm the bitumen so that it can be pumped to the surface; much like the conventional oil drilling methods that we are familiar with.
Canada’s oil sands present significant economic opportunities, high quality employment and economic benefits for Canadians from coast to coast. The oil sands also pose environmental challenges such as minimizing the footprint of these mines to reduce the environmental impact, GHG emissions, water use and reclamation and management of the Tailings, the residuals left over from the mining. “Research and technology leadership is our strength in these areas of concern.” Mr. Lunn also feels that the “Challenges can be managed” Research and development activities are focused on improving environmental performance through reducing GHG emissions, continued reduction of water use and minimizing the footprint of the mines.
The Canadian Club of Halton Peel consistently brings fascinating speakers such as Stuart Lunn to speak at their dinners held on the third Thursday of each month September through April at the Oakville Conference Centre.
The next guest speaker on Thursday, March 22 will be the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, C.C.,Q.C.,LLD, LSM, Counsel, Torys LLP and Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He will speak about “The Role of the Supreme Court of Canada”
For more information please visit www.canadianclub.ca.
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