AUPRF – A Cornerstone of Collaboration

The Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF) is a unique collaborative platform between the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Energy Regulator, and industry, and is led by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC), and managed by PTAC. AUPRF was launched with the idea that through innovation and collaborative R&D, we can minimize the environmental impact of our industry economically.

Since inception, over 300 applied research projects have been completed through the AUPRF program. Each project launched provides practical science based studies to address knowledge gaps in the understanding and management of high priority environmental and social matters related to oil and gas exploration and development in Alberta, and assists in the development of smart policies, regulations and best practices for the sustainable development of Alberta’s world class hydrocarbon resources. The program has resulted in significant contributions in the areas of cost reduction, ease of operations, social license, regulatory impact on risk influenced by science based choice, fast tracking development activities, avoiding unnecessary cost/adversarial hearings, and helping the regulator understand the environmental impact of hydrocarbon development.

In addition, the AUPRF program has proven against the conventional wisdom of economics that there is a trade-off between social and economic performance. Business can indeed make profit while solving social and environmental problems.

Resourceful

To provide an efficient and effective mechanism to coordinate, initiate, fund, complete and communicate on Environmental research needed by the industry and government regulators enabling a prosperous upstream oil and gas industry achieving socially and environmentally responsible recovery of Canada’s petroleum resources through effective, market-driven collaboration.

Industry Led

The Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF) is an industry-sponsored fund supported by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC). The AUPRF Fund is managed and administered through PTAC Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada.   PTAC is a neutral facilitator of multi-stakeholder industry research and technology development projects.

This fund supports applied, peer-reviewed research that increases knowledge, assists in decision-making, and develops solutions to industry environment, health and safety/social issues. The science supporting AUPRF projects is based on independent, peer-reviewed research performed by consultants and university and government scientists.  The reports arising from this research are thorough and objective. They identify required improvements as well as practical cost-effective solutions.

Unique Collaborative Platform Unprecedented

The long-term success of the oil and gas industry in Canada depends on the collective advancement of this environmental agenda between all stakeholders.  AUPRF research is not undertaken in isolation.  Industry funds are leveraged by government, institutional and other stakeholder support, often at the rate of four to five dollars for every industry dollar.   Through PTAC, industry works closely with all stakeholders to ensure projects focus on high-priority issues and coordinates research efforts with other organizations.    Industry and government work together in the early design of research projects to address environmental issues resulting in efficiency in financial and technical resources and buy-in and uptake of  results.

To view full Terms of Reference document – download here.

Each producer company who sits on an AUPRF committee gets one vote. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) also each get one vote if they sit on a committee. One of the unique benefits of the AUPRF program is the engagement with regulators and government policy makers who provide support to the projects technically and then advocate internally for acceptance of results and revisions to directives/regulations based on the science to support decision making.

The AUPRF program has resulted in significant contributions in the areas of cost reduction, ease of operations, social license, and regulatory impact on risk influenced by science based choice, fast tracking development activities, avoiding unnecessary cost/adversarial hearings, and helping the regulator understand the environmental impact of hydrocarbon development.The AUPRF program has proven against the conventional wisdom of economics that there is a trade-off between social and economic performance. Business can indeed make profit while solving social and environmental problems.

Below is a snapshot of past performance and value creation estimates that have stemmed from the AUPRF Program in recent years:

  • 300+ Projects launched to date
  • 28 Best Management Practices to date
  • Significant financial leveraging, averaging ~1:6
  • Value creation from the AUPRF Program as determined by producer participants:
    • $15M – $35M in annual industry savings due to 3 recently implemented Soil and Groundwater projects alone (2015/16). These three projects had a research investment from AUPRF of only $765K combined.  
    • $5M per year savings from the Alberta Water Tool (2017), an application that provides all stakeholders with open access to detailed hydrology information for every stream, river and lake in west-central Alberta. 
    • With these four projects alone, industry has realized savings of a minimum of $20M in 2017.

As per direction from the CAPP Board of Governors, PTAC has facilitated the development of 28 practical field guides/best management practices (BMPs).   Ten of these field guides have been presented to industry at PTAC events/webinars and the remaining will be featured early 2018.  PTAC has also dedicated resources to support the uptake of these BMPs with subject matter expert support to junior producers.  The adoption of these learnings enables producers to assist in the ease of operations with a focus on cost-savings and efficiency.   We have also engaged new junior producers in learning how to adopt the field practices to recognize the savings.

Active Projects
Alberta Energy Regulator Information Letter
Aerial Emissions Detection and Mapping
Airborne 3D Gas Imager Aerial Verification
Alberta Water Tool
Application of Distributed Sensing for enhanced determination of Surface Casing Vent Flow (SCVF)
Caribou Range Restoration Project: 10 Year Follow-up Monitoring of Naturally Regenerating Seismic Lines in West Central Alberta
Definitive gas migration testing: Comparative assessment of different gas migration testing techniques and field instrumentation
Development of a Chloride Water Quality Guideline Based on Hardness and Consideration for Cation Toxicity
Development of a highly repeatable and auditable, cost-effective monitoring system to locate and quantify emissions via small unmanned aerial systems (sUASs).
Development of Remote Sensing Techniques for Regional Reclamation Monitoring of Peatlands in Alberta - Phase-2
Efficient monitoring of wildlife responses to seismic line restoration in the Algar Habitat Restoration Program
ENE Tool - Phase 2B
Fluid mechanic causes of gas migration
Fugitive Emission Management Program (FEMP) Effectiveness Assessment
Fugitive Emission Management Program (FEMP) Effectiveness Assessment
Fugitive Equipment Leak Emission Factors with Advanced Monitoring and Detection Methods
Investigate the potential for surface casing vent flow/groundwater migration issues
Low Probability Receptor Technical Reports
Methane Emissions – Human and Ecological Health Risk based Ranking and Prioritization Tool
Methane Hub
Mobile Methane Sensing Analytics for Emissions Reduction
Pilot Measurements Study for Quantifying Methane Emissions at Upstream and Midstream Oil and Gas Facilities
Plug and Abandon Strategies for Canada's Oil & Gas Wells
PM2.5 Emissions Test Program and Emission Factor
Pneumatic Vent Gas Measurement
Redefining Designable Units (DUs): Phase 2, Mountain and Boreal Caribou in Alberta and BC
Regional Approach to Assessment Background Soil Quality
Regulatory Approval of Risk Assessment Tools
Risk Assessment: Use of Layflat Surface Hose for the Transport of Alternative Water
Salt Affected Soils:  Quantifying Impacts To Develop Scientifically Based Remediation Criteria For Alberta
Scientific evaluation and interpretation of baseline groundwater well testing data available for Alberta (Year 2 of 2)
Surface Water Diversion Website Update
Verification of Quantitative Optical Gas Imaging System
Water sources data centralization project
Year 2 - Canada Warbler Response to Vegetation on Recovering Energy Sector Disturbances

Alberta is the largest oil and gas producer in Canada and has been seen as innovative and progressive with a robust environmental research program that is inclusive of both industry and government.   The tangible value of which has been demonstrated though regulation change, significant financial savings for industry, improved operating practices, and continuous improved environmental and social performance.  Industry and government have collectively agreed there is significant value in the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF) Program.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) jointly request that the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) administration fee process be used to annually collect the required funds to fund the AUPRF Program. The AER has agreed and includes an amount for this voluntary funding contribution in the oil and gas well administration fee invoices.   For more information, please click here

PTAC will utilize an open Call for Funding Applications and Request for Proposals process to solicit proposals to address the high priority policy issues/knowledge gaps as identified by industry with support from government and others. PTAC will also accept unsolicited proposals from innovators including Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and researchers with ideas to address industry challenges.

AUPRF Management Committee

Ole Mrklas, ConocoPhillips Canada

Rekha Nambiar, Suncor Energy

Scott Grindal, ConocoPhillips Canada

Scott Hillier, Cenovus

Sherry Sian, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Stephen Bromley, Husky Energy

Air Research Planning Committee (ARPC)

Alice Yu, Cenovus

Allison Fisher, Shell Canada

Alison Miller, Imperial

Bruce Fraser, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Brooke Coburn, Encana Corporation

Carolyn Ussher, Nexen

Cassandra Schostek, Alberta Energy Regulator

Dean Jenkins, Encana Corporation

Filiz Onder, Encana Corporation

Gerald Palanca, Alberta Energy Regulator

Greg Unrau, Repsol Oil & Gas Canada Inc.

Heather Stevenson, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

James Beck, Suncor Energy

Lindsay Campbell, Alberta Energy Regulator

Mark Anderson, Husky Energy

Milos Krnjaja, Alberta Energy Regulator

Randy Dobko, Alberta Environment and Parks

Rekha Nambiar, Suncor Energy

Robert Thompson, Encana Corporation

Roopa Ganapathy, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Salima Loh, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Sean Hiebert, Cenovus

Vicrum Vaidya, Encana Corporation

Wayne Hillier, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Ecological Research Planning Committee (ERPC)

Bruce Greenfield, Alberta Energy Regulator

Carol Barsky, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Carol Engstrom, Independent

Caroline Bampfylde, Alberta Environment and Parks

Jennifer Shalagan, Husky Energy

Mark Boulton, Suncor Energy

Sarah Fulton, Husky Energy

Scott Grindal, ConocoPhillips Canada

Shane Patterson, Alberta Environment and Parks

 

Methane Research Planning Committee (MRPC)

Allison Fisher, Shell Canada

Alison Miller, Imperial

Bruce Fraser, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Dean Jenkins, Encana Corporation

Don D’Souza, Ministry of Natural Gas BC

Gerald Palanca, Alberta Energy Regulator

Heather Stevenson, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Jacob Bayda, Ministry of Economy, Saskatchewan

Lindsay Campbell, Alberta Energy Regulator

Richard Dunn, Encana Corporation

Salima Loh, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Sean Hiebert, Cenovus

Sherry Sian, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Wayne Hillier, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Remediation Reclamation Research Committee (RRRC)

Ayan Chakraborty, Imperial Oil Ltd.

Daniel Pollard, Alberta Energy Regulator

Debbie Tainton, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Gordon Dinwoodie, Alberta Environment and Parks

Mike Truzak, Enerplus

Ole Mrklas, Cenovus

Paul Hartzheim, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Prit Kotecha, Suncor Energy

Richard Wong, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Sonia Glubish, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Stephen Bromley, Husky Energy

Stuart Lunn, Imperial Oil Ltd.

Well Abandonment Research Initiative Committee (WARI)

Adele Zenide, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Brian Lemoine, Imperial Oil Ltd.

Dave Samuelson, Canovus

Deanna Cottrell, Shell Canada

Evgeny Michurin, Alberta Energy Regulator

Jeff Willick, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Joanne Petryk, Alberta Energy Regulator

Kasem Kaci, Alberta Energy Regulator

Ken Masich, Alberta Energy Regulator

Leah Davies, Independent

Richard Wong, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Ryan Munro, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Shawn Forster, Husky Energy

Water Innovation Planning Committee (WIPC)

Agata Nowak, MEG Energy

Anil Gupta, Alberta Environment and Parks

Anita Selinger, Suncor Energy

Brent Moore, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Deanna Cottrell, Shell Canada

Don McCrimmon, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

Giani Talinga, Penn West

James Armstrong, Encana Corporation

Janet McNally, NuVista Energy Ltd.

Jarred Anstett, Progress Energy

Jeff Willick, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Jennifer Saldana, Husky Energy

JoAnne Volk, Repsol Oil & Gas Canada Inc.

Luke Donnelly, Repsol Oil & Gas Canada Inc.

Mark Roblin, ARC Resources

Michael Bevan, Alberta Energy Regulator

Michelle Morris, Alberta Environment and Parks

Robert Thompson, Encana Corporation

Rodney Guest, Suncor Energy

Sarah Fulton, Husky Energy

Scott Hillier, Cenovus

Shannon Provencher, Husky Energy

Steve Wallace, Alberta Environment and Parks

Methane emissions reductions continued to dominate the discourse among government, industry, and regulators in 2017. Mandated targets of reducing emissions by 45% (from 2012 levels) by 2025 has spurred industry to seek innovative solutions. PTAC has responded, bringing to bear our unique position as a trusted neutral-facilitator skilled at uniting diverse stakeholders in a common vision.  Through 22 years of collaborative technology development, PTAC’s consortia have developed numerous technologies that currently have the collective capacity, with full industry uptake, to reduce overall methane emissions by over 30%; this is significant progress in achieving the technology capacity to meet the 2025 targets.  PTAC also shifted its 2017 activities to address industry’s challenges in achieving emissions reduction targets, establishing new networks and launching 17 methane-related projects throughout the year.

Expanding upon the existing Methane Research Planning Committee, an AUPRF subcommittee focused on accelerating research and technology development projects to support timely regulatory development, PTAC has also established the Methane Emissions Reduction Network.  This network draws upon established PTAC committees and consortia to create an ideal platform which accelerates the commercialization of relevant, critical, and cost-effective methane-reduction technologies. The Methane Emissions Reduction Network will allow all stakeholders to freely access information related to methane initiatives and encourage and equip them to work together to align priorities, identify and address gaps, and avoid duplication.

PTAC: Nurturing Oil and Natural Gas Innovation

Bringing new inventions into the real world is never easy. As Thomas Edison once commented, it takes perseverance—and lots of it. That’s just as true today. Innovators at small start-ups must hunt down capital, aggressively win over backers and work persistently to build a case for their technology. It’s a tough game, especially in the oil and gas industry, where new technologies need to be shown to fill a need and be effective under real-world operating conditions… Read Full Article

PTAC: Industry Innovation Success Stories

Through its innovation incubation strategy, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) is having a tangible impact supporting technologies that both reduce environmental footprint and costs for Canada’s oil and natural gas industry. The following three companies worked through PTAC to develop partnerships with industry, enabling each to bring promising technologies to market. Follow the links to a full story for each.

Spartan Controls: Fuel Savings for Compressor Engines

Spartan Controls Spartan Controls developed a patented air-fuel ratio control system for natural gas compressor engines called REMVue. The technology optimizes the air-fuel mixture in older compressor engines, resulting in increased engine performance and reliability, fuel savings of about 15 per cent, and decreased GHG emissions. Read more.

TRIDO Industries: A Better Solar Pump

Russ Graham, TRIDO Trido Industries developed a more reliable actuator for solar pumps used to inject chemicals into the process stream at remote field sites. By enabling mainstream use of solar chemical injection pumps, TRIDO has helped oil and natural gas producers reduce GHG emissions by about 200,000 tonnes a year. Read more.

Cap-Op Energy: Tracking Energy Efficiency

Cooper Robinson, Cap-Op Energy Cap-Op Energy has developed a cloud-based, automated data management platform that helps oil and natural gas producers track GHG emissions reductions across their operations. The system enables producers to track energy efficiency projects to receive carbon credits while managing operating and compliance costs. Read more.

Focus Areas