From the very beginning, research and development has played a crucial role in our commitment to responsible oil sands development through innovation and world-class technologies. Here’s a glimpse of our R&D team’s dedication to advance oil sands science over the years.
Reservoir untapped for 2021 due to limited storage capacity
Growing up in Saskatchewan, Dallas Heisler understood the importance of water from an early age.
“Water is prized given the prominence of farming where I grew up,” says Dallas, Syncrude’s Pit Lake Co-ordinator. “But we also recognize the value of water in the Wood Buffalo region. While agriculture isn’t a major industry here, the lakes, rivers and wetlands are very important. People want them to be protected. That’s no different than back home.”
The beauty beneath the fen
The beauty of Sandhill Fen is more than skin deep. It goes deeper than the beauty of the plants and animals that thrive in its carefully designed wetland valleys and forested hills. It penetrates some 60 metres below the surface landscape, where a Syncrude-developed technology enabled the use of oil sands mine tailings to fill this former mine pit back up to grade. In fact, the Fen and its surrounding watershed is the oil sands industry’s first example of mine reclamation over a foundation of treated tailings.Learn More
Friction welding takes metal wear to the leading edge
When Dustin Stuyt and his team sought solutions to extend the life of tertiary sizer teeth in Syncrude’s ore crushing units, they looked internally to the Research and Development department for ideas.Learn More
When a lake is more than a lake
When Rochelle Young first started working at Syncrude 20 years ago, she heard about plans to turn the west in-pit tailings pond into a lake. “I remember wondering, ‘How is that actually possible? I was working as an environmental scientist and it was hard to imagine.”Learn More
Micro-organism ‘hunter’ sees signs of progress in Base Mine Lake’s microbial communities
Peter Dunfield has spent a long and distinguished career poking around rice paddies, peatlands, volcanoes and tailings ponds searching for nature’s tiniest grazers, single-celled micro-organisms that chew up methane.Learn More
Medical equipment helps solve Base Mine Lake monitoring mysteries
A need to solve monitoring mysteries for Base Mine Lake prompted one Syncrude researcher to turn to medical equipment and the results have been great.Learn More
New production milestone fuelled by innovation
Stephen Morrison has never set foot in Syncrude’s R-and-D centre in Edmonton but his 31-year career has been shaped by the technologies developed by Syncrude’s scientists, which have touched just about every part of the operation.Learn More
Construction completed at Syncrude’s commercial water release project
Syncrude has wrapped up the construction of its demonstration water release project at Mildred Lake.Learn More
Syncrude set to mark 55 years of advancing oil sands science
The Syncrude Research and Development Centre in Edmonton is celebrating its 25th birthday in 2019. While truly a time for celebration, this milestone is also an opportunity to reflect on R&D’s contributions to advancing science, technologies and innovation behind Canada’s oil sands industry over more than five decades.
Posted on September 26, 2019
Alberta Energy Regulator approves MLX project and Mildred Lake tailings plan
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has approved Syncrude’s Mildred Lake Extension (MLX).
Posted on July 31, 2019
A Look Back: ‘Discovery’ Dragline was a Towering Presence in Syncrude Mine
Lorne Wyatt used to climb to the top of the dragline boom or the mast every dayshift, to a metal grated perch more than 180 feet above the mine.
Posted on July 8, 2019
Syncrude preparing to commission full-scale closed circuit water return treatment demonstration project
Syncrude’s full-scale closed circuit water return demonstration project will start operating this summer, 14 years after initial research began on treating mine water using petroleum coke.
Posted on May 17, 2019
Syncrude researchers trek through kilometres of snow as part of annual survey
Syncrude annually conducts a variety of reclamation research studies and one of the largest is our snow survey. The Snow Survey Field Program quantifies snow depth, snow quality and snow chemistry across reclaimed sites. With snow shoes and sample jars in hand, Syncrude staff and contractors head out to collect snow samples and record snow measurements just before the start of spring.
Posted on April 17, 2019
Celebrating our mining history: 20th anniversary of first bucketwheel reclaimer retirement
Big trucks and shovels – that’s usually what comes to mind when you think of mining at Syncrude today. However, looking back 20 years ago, Syncrude’s mining machines were even bigger. Standing at about 30 metres above ground and 120 metres in length (longer than a football field), Syncrude’s bucketwheel reclaimers were first-generation oil sands equipment and are remembered as giants of mining. On March 11, 1999, Bucketwheel Reclaimer No. 2 was retired, marking a shift in mining at Syncrude.
Posted on March 12, 2019
Innovation puts Syncrude in the oil sands spotlight
In 2014, the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Foundation recognized Syncrude’s Research & Development (R&D) Team with a Special Award for their collective 50-year contribution to the advancement of the science behind Canada’s oil sands. That commitment to innovation began in 1964 and continues to this day.
Posted on November 13, 2018