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Pathways to Net Zero for Canada’s Oil Sands: A New Approach

Date & Time

Jun. 23, 2022
10:30am – 11:30am ET


In June 2021, Canada officially joined a list of countries with formal commitments to attain net-zero emissions by 2050. The passage of the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act built on Canada's promise to reduce emissions by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2030 as a signatory to the Paris Agreement and set a clear goal for both public and private actors to work towards in the fight against climate change.

To help Canada meet its climate goals, six companies that account for 95 percent of oil sands production are working together on an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands production in phases, with the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. This group, the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance, unveiled a roadmap to net-zero that centers on carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) processes and other emerging technologies like direct air capture.

Over 60% of U.S. crude oil imports originate from Canada, making it the largest supplier of foreign oil to U.S. markets. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's testimony before the U.S. Senate in May and Senator Joe Manchin's visit to Alberta in April highlight the elevated importance of this bilateral energy relationship in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. As the United States grapples with how to meet its own emissions goals, the transformation of Canada's energy industry stands to serve as a blueprint. 

Principal Participants
  • Bijan Agarwal, President, ConocoPhillips Canada
  • Bill Burlew, Senior Manager of Government Affairs, Enbridge
  • Mark Cameron, Senior Advisor for External Engagement, MEG Energy Corporation and Vice President, Pathways to Net Zero Alliance
  • Brad W. Corson, Chairman, President, and CEO, Imperial Oil
  • Rhona DelFrari, Chief Sustainability Officer SVP Stakeholder Engagement, Cenovus
  • Kendall Dilling, Vice President, Environment and Regulatory Cenovus Energy and President, Pathways to Net Zero Alliance
  • Sherri Evers, Vice President for Commercial and Corporate Development, Imperial Oil
  • Alexander Pourbaix, President and CEO, Cenovus Energy
  • James Rajotte, Alberta's Senior Representative in Washington, DC
  • Scott Wenger, Director for Government Relations, Suncor Energy

Selected Quotes

Ambassador Mark Green

"Congress established the Wilson Center around five decades ago for the purpose of strengthening the fruitful relations between the world of learning and the world of public affairs."

"The climate solution challenge is an urgent one, but the question being asked in Washington and around the world is how do we do it?"

"The Oil Sands Pathways to Net-Zero initiative brings together the six top oil sands producers in an alliance to reach net-zero GHG emissions from the oil sands by 2050."

Hon. Jason Kenney

"We believe that Alberta can be a big part of the solution to global energy scarcity, but we are also here to talk about the bigger and longer-term issue of climate change and how we can be a part of that solution as well."

"Canada, more specifically Alberta, is responsible for 62% of U.S. oil imports and 63% of natural gas imports last year: about 3 million barrels a day of crude and about 4.3 billion cubic feet of gas every day."

"Western democracy has the responsibility to stop the weaponization of hydrocarbon energy that we have seen in Putin’s Russia."

Christopher Sands

"We know that, notwithstanding the political urgency, five and higher gas costs might create short-term support for expanded oil imports, but it can’t be at the expense of the environment and climate goals."

"We are fortunate in Alberta to sit on one of the best CO2 storage geologic reservoirs in the world. It has all the great attributes that you would want in a CO2 storage capacity. "

Hosted By

Canada Institute

The mission of the Wilson Center's Canada Institute is to raise the level of knowledge of Canada in the United States, particularly within the Washington, DC policy community.  Research projects, initiatives, podcasts, and publications cover contemporary Canada, US-Canadian relations, North American political economy, and Canada's global role as it intersects with US national interests.  Read more

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