ConocoPhillips Canada supports NAIT students and essential applied research
NAIT with support from ConocoPhillips Canada is helping Alberta meet its need for a highly-skilled workforce and developing emerging solutions for sustainable resource development.
“We value our relationship with ConocoPhillips Canada,” said NAIT President and CEO Dr. Glenn Feltham. “As a leading polytechnic in sustainable forest management, our collaboration is helping to advance applied research undertaken by the NAIT Boreal Research Institute and supporting Power Engineering Technology, one of our most in-demand programs.”
ConocoPhillips Canada today announced $1.1 million in support of NAIT’s Power Engineering Technology program as well as the NAIT Boreal Research Institute (NBRI) through the creation of the new ConocoPhillips Canada - Surmont Boreal Reclamation Project. This brings the company’s cumulative support of NAIT to $1.5 million over the past decade.
Based in Peace River, AB the NBRI is focused on developing innovative technologies to reclaim oil and gas well sites and restore sensitive peatland ecosystems through partnerships with industry. As part of the ConocoPhillips Canada - Surmont Boreal Reclamation Project, new reclamation methods, products and materials will be developed. The applied research will be conducted at ConocoPhillips Canada’s Surmont site, located southeast of Fort McMurray, AB.
“Investing in post-secondary education programs is about so much more than writing cheques,” said Ken Lueers, president of ConocoPhillips Canada and a NAIT alumnus (Resources Engineering Technology ’82). “It’s about providing real opportunities for students to gain practical skills to be successful. And if we can assist in facilitating that, while simultaneously investing in research that supports our focus on responsible development, that’s the best win-win situation we could ask for.”
Headquartered in Calgary, ConocoPhillips Canada is one of the top producers of natural gas in the country, and the second largest steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) producer, with a world-class portfolio, including assets in Western Canada, the Canadian Arctic, Atlantic Canada and oil sands near Fort McMurray.
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With more than 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.
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• The applied research will be conducted by NAIT Boreal Research Institute (NBRI) researchers at ConocoPhillips Canada’s Surmont lease, a multi-decade project that uses steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) to recover bitumen. Surmont is operated by ConocoPhillips Canada under a 50/50 joint venture agreement with Total E&P Canada and is located southeast of Fort McMurray, AB in the Athabasca oil sands.
• Northern Alberta’s oil sands are one of the largest known hydrocarbon deposits in the world.
• The first research project will involve using topsoil piles as incubators of boreal plants for use in reclamation. Topsoil piles are a normal part of the construction of in situ projects. The planting of boreal shrubs, forbs and trees into topsoil piles is a creative way to generate soil and native plant stockpiles for use in reclamation.
• Research will identify boreal forbs and shrubs that are most successful in restoring an industrial site. Use of boreal plants is also a strategy to prevent the invasion of noxious weeds and reduce the need for chemical herbicides.
• A priority for ConocoPhillips is the wise management of sensitive peatland eco-systems. NAIT research at Surmont will include the evaluation of road, pipeline and seismic line impacts on peatlands and waterways.
• NAIT researchers are committed to mentoring NAIT forestry and biology students and interns from other post-secondary institutions who will develop into the technical specialists needed to steward the boreal forest in years to come.
• The research will begin in the spring of 2015.