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Alberta

A Matter of Fact: AP news story misrepresents the oil sands by ignoring environmental progress

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A truck approaches Wapisiw Lookout, the first reclaimed tailings pond in the oil sands industry. Photo courtesy Suncor Energy

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

Producers reducing emissions per barrel, on track for absolute emissions reductions

A widely-circulated article this week by the Associated Press misrepresents Canada’s oil sands industry by ignoring its progress improving environmental performance and its commitment to achieving climate targets.  

Here are the facts.  

Fact: Canadian oil is not “the world’s dirtiest”  

The article repeats the false narrative that oil from the oil sands is far “dirtier” than other crudes produced around the world. This is not the case.  

Analysis by S&P Global found that average oil sands emissions per barrel are in the range of other crude oils consumed in the United States, the industry’s main customer.

Average oil sands emissions per barrel range from 1.6 per cent below to 8.6 per cent above, depending on production process, S&P Global predecessor IHS Markit reported in 2018. 

Canada’s oil sands producers are doing more to reduce emissions than operators in other countries, according to BMO Capital Markets.

Between 2013 and 2021, BMO estimates the average oil sands barrel shaved off more than 22 kilograms of emissions, compared to a reduction of just five kilograms per barrel for other major global oil producers.  

Fact: Oil sands producers reducing emissions per barrel, on track for absolute emissions reductions  

The AP article makes no mention of the success oil sands producers have achieved reducing emissions per barrel. That so-called emissions intensity is now estimated to be 23 per cent lower than it was in 2009, according to S&P Global.   

Further, there is no mention that the success reducing emissions per barrel is catching up to production growth, and total oil sands emissions may be close to their peak.  

Last year, for the first time since S&P Global started estimating the data, oil sands production went up, but emissions did not.

Total oil sands emissions were 81 megatonnes in 2022, nearly flat with 2021 despite a production increase of about 50,000 barrels per day. 

Last year analysts predicted that absolute oil sands emissions would start going down by 2025. The new findings indicate that could happen sooner. And that’s before shovels hit the ground for the Pathways Alliance’s foundational carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.   

Fact: Pathways Alliance collaboration is critical to emissions reduction 

The AP article leaves out any mention of the Pathways Alliance, one of the most significant environmental initiatives ever undertaken in Canada.  

Six companies representing 95 per cent of Canada’s oil sands production are working together with the goal of net zero emissions in their operations by 2050.    

With anticipated co-funding support from Canadian governments, the Alliance has announced plans to invest about $24 billion before 2030 in the first phase of its plan.

This includes $16.5 billion on the foundational CCS project and $7.6 billion on other technologies like switching to clean hydrogen and electricity to power oil sands operations. 

About half of the targeted 22 million tonne per year emissions reduction by 2030 will come from CCS, with a network connecting CO2 capture at an initial 14 oil sands facilities to a storage hub in northern Alberta. 

Fact: CCS projects in Canada are working 

The AP article perpetuates the inaccurate position that CCS is not a proven technology. But CCS in Canada has successfully operated for more than two decades.   

Canada has six of the world’s 39 commercial CCS operations, accounting for about 15 per cent of global CCS capacity even though Canada generates less than two per cent of global CO2 emissions, according to the International CCS Knowledge Centre. 

In Alberta, since 2015 two CCS projects – both tied to oil sands production – have safely stored more than 12 million tonnes of CO2, or the equivalent of taking more than 2.6 million internal combustion engine vehicles off the road.  

Fact: The world needs oil now and long into the future 

While activists trumpet the narrative that the world is rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels, the reality is oil and gas will be around for a long, long time.    

Even as more renewable and alternative energy sources become technically and economically feasible at a large scale, on the current trajectory the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that oil alone will still supply 26 per cent of world energy needs in 2050. That’s down only modestly from 30 per cent in 2022.    

Even in the IEA’s unlikely net zero scenario – which would require unprecedented global cooperation and includes more than a third of emissions reductions coming from technologies that do not yet exist – oil still accounts for 8 per cent of world energy supply in 2050.   

Oil demand for non-energy use (like pavement, which improves in quality when using oil from Canada’s oil sands) even continues to increase in the IEA’s net zero scenario, rising to 6 per cent of world energy use in 2050, from five per cent in 2022.   

Canada’s oil sands industry leads the world in its commitment to continuous improvement in environmental performance and emissions reduction, and this should be recognized by media outlets including the Associated Press.  

Alberta

Edmonton triples venture capital investment in 2023

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Alberta’s tech sector continues its strong momentum, with Edmonton seeing its strongest growth ever, proof Alberta remains a hot tech market.

As global and national investment have declined, Alberta has remained a strong tech market and is showing continued leadership, as shown by Pitchbook ranking Calgary as the 12th fastest-growing tech ecosystem in the world and LinkedIn ranking Calgary as one of the best places to hire and recruit tech workers.

At the end of 2023, Alberta’s five-year growth rate for venture capital dollars invested reached an impressive 48.5 per cent, more than triple Canada’s compounded average growth rate of 13 per cent, according to the 2023 Canadian Venture Capital Private Equity Association fourth-quarter report.

The province’s growth rate means Alberta finished 2023 with $707 million invested over 86 deals, in line with Alberta’s 2022 record-breaking year. In contrast, Canada ended the year with a 31 per cent decline in investments. Over the past five years, Alberta technology companies have secured more than $2.7 billion in venture capital funding across 350 deals, creating thousands of jobs for Albertans.

“While Canada as a whole saw massive declines, Alberta has held steady. We are a major venture capital player in Canada, as technology drives growth across all sectors.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

Alberta’s two largest cities continued to attract investment dollars in 2023, with Calgary and Edmonton coming in fourth and fifth respectively for number of deals, with $501 million invested in 64 deals in Calgary and $188 million invested in 21 deals in Edmonton. Edmonton saw a 324 per cent increase from $58 million in 2022 to $188 million in 2023. In total, Alberta captured 10.3 per cent of dollars invested in 2023 and 13 per cent of venture capital deals in Canada.

“Edmonton’s tripling of venture capital investment in 2023 underscores our city’s position as a dynamic tech capital within Alberta’s thriving innovation ecosystem, reaffirming our role as a powerhouse driving technological advancement and economic prosperity across diverse sectors. It is the local innovators’ relentless pursuit of solutions to real-world problems, with the continuing support of the Government of Alberta, which not only attracts significant investment but also propels our city to the forefront of Alberta’s tech revolution and fosters job creation for our community.”

Launa Aspeslet, interim chief executive officer, Edmonton Unlimited

“At Platform Calgary we are working with our partners to continue this momentum by linking up high potential tech startups with the investors that can help them take their businesses to the next level. The evidence is clear, Alberta is emerging as one of the most exciting and resilient tech ecosystems in the world. Together with our growing tech community, we can secure Alberta’s position as the best place in the world for anyone to launch and grow a tech business.”

Terry Rock, president and chief executive officer, Platform Calgary 

Alberta remains a growing market for the technology and innovation sector, and Alberta’s government celebrates its steady contribution to the Alberta economy, including in the fourth quarter of 2023. The end of last year saw venture capital investments in the province increase by 35 per cent for dollars invested and 19 per cent for deals closed compared with the third quarter. There were 25 deals closed valued at a combined $173 million in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Alberta

Shining a spotlight on Alberta athletes, sport leaders

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Alberta’s government is continuing to support the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, so it can showcase the province’s sport legacy for years to come.

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments of more than 1,600 Albertans, from Olympic gold medallists to community sport leaders. To continue supporting this long-standing legacy, the government is providing $302,500 to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Museum. This funding will support the operations of the facility and the organization’s management and delivery of the annual Alberta Sport Recognition Awards.

“Alberta’s future is stronger when we understand and preserve our history and celebrate our successes. Places like the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame help us do just that. I’m proud our government is supporting it, as it spotlights Albertans with incredible athletic achievements and community contributions.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

“The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has long been a cherished attraction in our community, offering Albertans inspiration and a window into the remarkable legacy of our athletes and community sport leaders. With our government’s investment in this institution, Red Deer’s tourism will undoubtedly grow, bringing significant benefits to our community and surrounding areas.”

Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer-North

“I am pleased to see the government’s support for the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame continue. This organization enriches the sport community in central Alberta, inspires the next generation of athletes and preserves our province’s history in sport excellence.”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

The Hall of Fame provides a space where the accomplishments of the sport community in Alberta are preserved and inspires the province’s future athletes and community leaders. Albertans recognized in the Hall of Fame include Melody Davidson, who was inducted in 2008 for her excellence in hockey, serving as a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning head coach for Team Canada women’s hockey, and Lanny McDonald, who was inducted in 1993 following a long and successful career in professional hockey. Last year, 12 inductees were nominated, including Patrick Jarvis and Theresa Maxwell for their success in Paralympics and volleyball.

This funding will ensure that Albertans can continue to celebrate the province’s turning-point moments and growing legacy in sport.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Alberta government. Their funding has played a pivotal role in sustaining the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, allowing us to preserve and celebrate the rich sporting history of our province. This support not only enhances our ability to showcase the achievements of the athletes, teams and sport champions but also reinforces the significant role sport plays in our community.”

Dale Henwood, chair, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

“Red Deer proudly stands as a hub for sports excellence, and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame plays a pivotal role in preserving and promoting our province’s rich athletic legacy. The City of Red Deer is grateful for the Alberta government’s continued support, ensuring that this institution continues to inspire future generations by showcasing the remarkable achievements of our athletes and community leaders.”

Ken Johnston, mayor, City of Red Deer

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame helps grow tourism in Red Deer and the surrounding area by attracting visitors to the facility to enjoy interactive sport-oriented games and activities and sport memorabilia. In the past two years, an estimated 20,000 people have visited the Hall of Fame annually. Exhibits on different sports and sport organizations, including the Hall of Fame Gallery that showcases the athletes and sport builders who have been inducted annually since 1957, are also available to view.

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