PTAC drives innovation forward through our numerous Networks which aim to launch collaborative R&D projects that reduce costs, improve safety, mitigate environmental impact, increase production and reserves, create new value-added opportunities, and assist in the maintenance and progression of our industry’s social license to operate. By working together, we are overcoming challenges and securing our industry’s future by developing technologies that reduce both cost and the environmental footprint.

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, 270 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.

The AUPRF website can be accessed at

Canada’s challenge is to find suitable technologies to commercially produce this resource while minimizing the environmental footprint. This is a tall order, particularly in an industry that can often face volatile commodity markets, but not an impossible task. Our Canadian experience proves that innovation and the application of technology are key. We must commit both intellectual expertise and financial resources to develop technologies that enable sustainable and profitable production. The leadership and momentum to achieve a real commitment to technology development begins with promoting and embracing a culture of sustainability. We must seek holistic, integrated solutions, optimizing our systems with balanced consideration for market opportunity, economic prosperity, profitability, social impacts and environmental management.  Sponsors of this project believe that technology development will be accelerated through collaborative (non-competitive) research and freely sharing knowledge.  A co-operative approach to addressing common issues requires trust among all stakeholders.

CBTAP is a fact based facilitated process involving stakeholders from industry and government, and experts from oil sands technical and environmental disciplines. This initiative begins with the identification of areas with high potential for breakthrough improvement, a review of technologies and studies to conduct gap analyses that reflect today’s practices relative to the future envisioned end state.

Leadership and collaboration are needed to accelerate the pace and increase the effectiveness of research, development and demonstration of new technologies and to place them in the hands of industry for implementation and commercialization. CBTAP was launched to ensure that, through collaboration, these challenges will be transformed into opportunities.
Major scope elements are:

  1. Developing Technologies: To accelerate the collaborative development and deployment of a slate of transformative technologies to the industry
  2. Facilitating Innovation: To facilitate, align and coordinate existing and future technology initiatives
  3. Sense of Urgency: To focus stakeholders on proactively developing and deploying new technologies as solutions to important and urgent issues

The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is a group of forward-thinking oil and gas industry professionals, innovators, financiers, policy makers, incubators & accelerators, academics and students committed to the success of the hydrocarbon energy sector, the people and communities that it touches, and a strong, carbon-competitive and diversified Canadian economy. We are comprised of individuals, and companies of all sizes. We represent a network of highly successful industrial and regional resources, capital, and talent; our participants and impacts are global in nature. CRIN builds on a longstanding Canadian innovation success story and positions the energy industry for further success in the 21st century through a determined focus on accelerated commercialization of technology and innovation.

To learn more about CRIN and to join, please visit:

The purpose of the Phoenix Network is to facilitate innovation in oil sands technology and to facilitate the launch of demonstration projects and field pilots.

The Network is a framework for industry collaboration, leveraging collective experience and expertise to identify opportunities, challenges, and potential solutions that require research or technology development. Network discussions will lead to Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) for technology research, development, demonstration and deployment. The JIPs will be funded and governed as entities separate from the Network.

The Phoenix Network is a closed PTAC Network, and cannot accept participation from other industry stakeholders.

Pipeline abandonment refers to the permanent removal from service of a pipeline. Depending on a number of factors, sections of pipeline may be abandoned in place or removed.

CEPA, the National Energy Board (NEB), the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and other stakeholders have collaborated to develop guidelines that operators can follow to abandon oil and gas pipelines in a manner that is safe, economic and environmentally sound. Technical and environmental issues associated with pipeline abandonment were discussed in “Pipeline Abandonment – A Discussion Paper on Technical and Environmental Issues” (NEB 1996). In 2007, CEPA published a report titled “Pipeline Abandonment Assumptions” which discussed technical and environmental considerations for development of pipeline abandonment strategies. A comprehensive review was undertaken by the NEB as part of the Land Matters Consultation Initiative (LMCI) which involved four discussion papers on the different topic areas, 45 meetings and workshops in 25 communities across Canada, and written submissions from 13 parties. The final LMCI report, published in 2009 recommended that knowledge gaps on the physical issues of pipeline abandonment be addressed (NEB 2009). Thus, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) was commissioned to conduct a literature review regarding the current understanding worldwide with respect to the physical and technical issues associated with onshore pipeline abandonment and use the results of the literature review to critically analyze and identify gaps in current knowledge, and make recommendations as to potential future research projects that could help to fill those gaps. DNV published this Scoping Study in November 2010.

CEPA and PTAC have established a framework for collaboration to guide and direct innovation and applied research, technology development, demonstration, and deployment to address knowledge gaps summarized in the DNV Scoping Study. Research findings from the CEPA-PTAC projects will be shared on a broad scale throughout the pipeline industry, the oil and gas industry, as well as with regulators, government agencies, and other stakeholders.

Completed Projects:

  1. Understanding the Mechanisms of Corrosion and their Effects on Abandoned Pipelines
  2. Frost Heave Effects on Pipeline Exposure Rates
  3. Decomposition of Pipe Coating Materials in Abandoned Pipelines
  4. Cleaning of Pipelines for Abandonment

The Pipeline Abandonment Research Network is a closed PTAC Network, and cannot accept participation from other industry stakeholders.

Remote sensing, or the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact, is a highly prospective area for the petroleum industry. Recent advances in technology have reduced costs and improved performance and value. However, the technology is in its early stages and many opportunities for technological leaps still need to be realized. Thus, there is merit for stakeholders to join forces to advance remote sensing innovation in the oil and gas sector.

The objectives of RSTAP are to:

  1. To solicit, screen and select new technologies for remote sensing applicable to petroleum industry challenges.
  2. To provide a neutral framework for stakeholders to exchange technical information as appropriate.
  3. To launch technology demonstration projects.

RSTAP’s scope is composed of the 4 following portfolios:

  1. Environmental impact monitoring: The effectiveness, timeliness and cost of environmental impact monitoring could be vastly improved through satellite, aerial and land-based observation methods to measure and monitor vegetation, ecosystem health, animal populations, land disturbance, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality in regions affected by oil and gas operations.
  2. Arctic resources development: The cost and safety of exploring and finding hydrocarbon resources in Arctic regions are challenged by the harsh climate. Remote sensing technologies offer the possibility of achieving similar outcomes using space and aerial observation methods with less exposure to climatic conditions and less land impact.
  3. Offshore resources development: Exploration for offshore resources is expensive due to the need to use ships and drilling platforms. Extreme weather events may also present safety challenges. Space and aerial sensing technologies may lead to similar outcomes without exposure to maritime conditions.
  4. Pipeline safety and security: Recent well publicized leaks have placed the integrity of the pipeline system under scrutiny. The industry needs to make a step change in its ability to monitor infrastructure integrity and respond to unplanned events. Remote sensing technologies may provide the opportunity for a leap forward in performance.
PTAC, in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), has continued to develop the SME program for nearly a decade.  Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are prevalent in the Canadian hydrocarbon energy sector. Agile and adaptable, these small companies are often at the forefront of innovation and technology solutions.  Their small size allows them to take greater risks to accomplish initial goals, but a large gap exists between the SME entrepreneur and the oil and gas exploration and production companies with whom they hope to connect. SMEs frequently build their business from limited technology development work and may offer products with acknowledged uncertainties and risks. The large-scale oil and gas operations of major producers and explorers are capital-intensive endeavours regularly scrutinized by shareholders and the public, so these companies often take a very conservative approach to technology risk.

PTAC strives to provide critical information for SMEs that are both new to the Canadian oil and gas industry and provides supplementary support to SMEs. PTAC welcomes memberships for SMEs on an “as-needed” basis. We recognize that SMEs may benefit the most from PTAC membership when they have a specific need to move technology into demonstration or commercialization stages, and our goal is to provide SMEs with solid value for their membership at the appropriate time.

One of the most popular and effective avenues SMEs choose to take with PTAC is the hosting of a Technology Information Session or (TIS). A TIS is an opportunity to increase the pace of development of your technology and make other industry stakeholders aware of what you are offering, what you need, and where you are planning to take your technology. More information on hosting a TIS can be found here.

Overall, PTAC’s work with SMEs, investors, producers and explorers has continued to gain momentum, and is effectively shifting prevailing attitudes. There is a growing atmosphere of trust in which explorers and producers feel comfortable discussing challenges and collaborating with SMEs on innovative technology solutions.

PTAC also works in collaboration with the NRC-IRAP (National Research Council Canada – Industrial Research Assistance Program, on the SME Innovation Program. NRC-IRAP has a long history of providing technical and business advisory services related to R&D, including strategic intelligence and customized solutions to fit your business needs. NRC-IRAP also provides financial support to qualified small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada to help them undertake technology innovation. Firms working with NRC-IRAP are better equipped to perform applied R&D, commercialize new products and services for global markets, and access new markets. NRC-IRAP is delivered across Canada through a network of over 260 ITAs located in more than 100 communities. The IRAP Calgary and Edmonton offices provide a window for the energy industry to new technologies from across the country.

If you represent an SME and are interested in discussing your project or innovation with PTAC, we ask that you please fill out this online preliminary intake form and submit it or alternatively, download this PTAC Preliminary Intake Form and return as directed. Upon receipt we will then reach out to you to schedule a meeting.

TEREE was developed to address challenges, opportunities for energy efficiency, emissions
measurement and reduction, best practices and management with due consideration to resource conservation, environmental protection, regulatory compliance and cost management. Innovation, collaboration and the application of technology are key to transform these challenges into opportunities.

Since TEREE’s launch in 2003, the international discourse on climate change and GHG emissions has continued to gain momentum in living rooms, board rooms, parliament, and social media. Since 2003, over 30 projects have been funded through the Technology for Emissions Reduction and Eco-Efficiency (TEREE) Program. Several of these projects have been basic research projects aimed at understanding the future path of research and technology development, while others have dealt directly with new techniques, technologies, and improvements to current procedures, all of which have led to the successful implementation of new methods by industry.

TEREE projects have made a significant contribution industry through the transfer of technologies used globally in the oil and gas industry, specifically in consideration of emissions reduction and energy efficiency. These project efforts are an imperative element of the R&D currently taking place within the oil and gas industry, fundamentally working to reduce environmental impact, improve performance, and establish the sustainable development of the hydrocarbon industry.

The objective of the TEREE program is to:

  • Recognize and understand key emission reduction and eco-efficiency issues;
  • Identify and evaluate emissions reduction and eco-efficiency technologies;
  • Recommend best technology and best practice solutions to address key issues;
  • Develop and demonstrate new technologies and best practices that take action on technology for emissions reductions and eco-efficiency;
  • Validate energy efficiency improvements and actual emission reductions achieved.
  • Communicate and promote the transfer of new and existing technologies and best practice based solutions

The TEREE program clearly demonstrates the successful combination of environmental responsibility and corporate financial success.

The purpose of TOGIN is to facilitate overall innovation relating to tight oil and shale gas technology and to increase recovery while reducing air, land and water environmental impacts, and to:

  • Provide guidance on industry challenges, technology solutions and innovation roadmap;
  • Share technical knowledge and expertise among Network members;
  • Obtain early access to outcomes of innovation projects;
  • Provide guidance on best practices;
  • Provide guidance on technology development projects.

Knowledge and technology sharing in the Network is at a non-confidential aggregate level and is not be focused at any specific company or play, and fully recognizes that individual producers have a deep understanding of technology challenges and opportunities related to their business.

The Network will focus on key issues identified through preliminary discussions with stakeholders:

  • High costs. Hydraulically fractured horizontal wells are very costly. Completions costs can also be very high due to the large water requirements. Well and fracture density may be high as a result of the low recovery factor. These characteristics and others offer many opportunities for reducing costs through technology development.
  • High rates of production decline. While production rates are high initially, which provides the benefit of rapid payback, they decline rapidly and the production infrastructure becomes underutilized. Opportunities would exist to enhance production from existing assets from secondary or enhanced recovery schemes.
  • Low resource recovery. While unconventional resources are estimated to be very large, the economically recoverable amount based on current technologies is less than 10% and in some geological formations, less than 5%. New recovery technologies are required to maximize resource potential.
  • Water management. While all aspects of environmental impact are important, hydraulic fracturing may require very large amounts of water. Methods to recycle flowback and produced water would minimize net withdrawals from fresh water resources.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and concerns exist with methane venting, fugitive emissions and flaring.
  • Market access. Production from the United States, British Columbia and Saskatchewan has increased substantially and flooded North American markets for oil and natural gas. Access to overseas markets is required (through LNG terminals and new pipelines) for the economic opportunity to be fully realized.

The Network will result in Joint Implementation Projects (JIPs) that will be funded by specific companies and government organizations. The JIPs will be governed by the funders and detailed results will be under project-specific confidentiality terms.