Canadian firm may have cure for oil sands headache

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by KenH, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. KenH

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    Canadian firm may have cure for oil sands headache
    Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:03pm EST
    By Jeffrey Jones​

    CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Alan Fair had been trying to solve the problem of oil sands tailings on and off for three decades, when 500 ducks died after landing on a pond of the waste at Syncrude Canada Ltd's Alberta site last spring.

    Then the quest became more crucial for Fair, Syncrude's research and development manager. The incident attracted global criticism of the environmental impact of Canada's oil sands.

    "There's no question it conveys a little more urgency around this, but we've recognized for some time that we have a tailings issue," he said.

    Fair is in charge of testing a range of ways to halt the expansion of toxic tailings ponds and cleaning them up, from using centrifuges to separate the liquids from the solids to forming new lakes in mined-out pits.

    But he is also open to ideas from outside Syncrude, the world's largest oil sands producer, like one from Gradek Energy Inc, a small firm with a unique technology aimed at cleaning up one of the industry's biggest headaches and a major reason why green groups have tagged the resource "dirty oil."

    "It's really exciting because all of a sudden we're not trying to kick a door down. The door's open," Keith McCrae, Gradek's chief operating officer, said.

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    #1 KenH, Feb 26, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009

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