Oil sands revisited

Since February 2008 I have visited Calgary to gain insights to the oil sand industry seven times, the latest time this month.

I have witnessed the creation and growth of the Oil Sand Leadership Initative (OSLI). The members have given me private access to their meetings and I am OSLI’s first official “critical ally”. The challenges they face are huge, and they cannot and will not defend the worst aspects of the industry. The individuals I am working with are committed, kind and authentic and they deserve respect. My main and repeated comment to them is about their responsibility to apply their technology to the bigger global challenges and not just reducing the impact of oil sands. I also wish they would publish more ambitious targets.

I continue to say this in public and in private meetings. In the public arena an opportunity is emerging with my work on the Virgin Earth Challenge: it is no coincidence that it was launched in Calgary. In this blog I am outing OSLI. Well done for making an important start!

After my first visit I wrote an article on my observations. It was never published, so it became a blog. More than two years later, in November 2011, it was published! (Alberta oil sands producers ‘distracted from ambition and creativity’) I stand by everything I said then and I’m happy to observe the progress being made.