US energy conglomerate GE and Canadian giant Suncor Energy have inked a deal to jointly develop new technologies to reduce the environmental footprint of oil sands operations.
The pair of agreements come with potential investments of up to $18 million and involve other members from Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (Cosia), including Devon Energy and ConocoPhillips. They aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions and water usage in Canada's oil sands.
One agreement relates to a water treatment pilot project expected to reduce water use, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as capital and operating costs for in-situ oil sands operators.
The deal also extends an existing partnership between GE, Suncor and Alberta Innovates - Energy and Environment Solutions into a "joint industry project" under Cosia.
That project, focuses on water treatment at steam-assisted gravity drainage operations, will cost a total of about $20 million, including $5 million contributed from the new agreements.
Another agreement that could see up to $13 million in investment involves six other Cosia members, who have agreed to pursue other joint industry projects that they hope will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"We have a world-class resource in Canada's oil sands that will supply energy for decades to come," said Suncor chief executive Steve Williams. "Responsible development of this resource is as important to everyone in the industry as it is to our stakeholders.
"By collaborating with our industry peers (and) co-operating with government bodies... we are continuing to take steps towards implementing innovative technologies that will make a difference in continued environmental improvements."