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.
Syncrude readies for historic ‘retirement’ of dam
It’s a “retirement” nearly 10 years in the making after almost 40 years of service. And it marks a significant milestone for Syncrude and the oil sands industry.Learn More
New technology tested to dredge bitumen from Base Mine Lake
From a mine pit to a tailings pond to an industry-first commercial demonstration of a pit lake, Base Mine Lake has gone through a series of changes over the years.Learn More
The science beneath the surface of Base Mine Lake
To the untrained eye, Base Mine Lake looks like an unremarkable body of water with the sole oddity of having mechanical falcons and other noise-makers floating on buoys to deter waterfowl from landing on its surface.Learn More
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.
Posted on November 14, 2019
Construction completed at Syncrude’s commercial water release project
Syncrude has wrapped up the construction of its demonstration water release project at Mildred Lake.
Posted on October 24, 2019
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