Insights

Gaining ground in the sands 2014

Five rites of passage for an industry in pursuit of operational maturity

The oil sands are entering a new cycle of development. There are signs that the sands are at a critical juncture, and the risk of missing maturity altogether if investment and other planning exclusively focus on the most immediate concerns. The relatively straightforward challenges are rising costs, increased environmental scrutiny and persistent shortages of key and skilled talent, which all force the sector to mature more quickly than it might have otherwise. The bigger issue? If the sector is unable to make cultural shifts and major operational changes, it faces risks of slipping straight into decline. In general, the trend of collaborative efforts by producers to improve operational excellence is underway.

This paper focuses on five “rites of passage” the oil sands will need to undergo to complete the final transition from a growing, “awkward teen” to a full-fledged, mature adult. In other words, come of age as a leaner, more flexible, globally attuned industry that remains profitable in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.

Key chapters of the content are also highlighted as below:

  1. Fitting in: Beyond “growth at all costs.”-- Points need to be addressed regarding the inadequacy of operating models
  2. Negotiating peer pressure: Competition from natural gas-- Looks at emerging competition for talent from burgeoning LNG development on the West Coast and Australia
  3. Finding yourself: Innovation versus imitation on the road to excellence - The value tension between innovation and imitation
  4. Standing on your own two feet: Reliability and asset management
  5. Leaving the nest: To discuss the challenge of accessing capital, especially in light of the revised Investment Canada Act that now demands greater scrutiny specifically of state-owned enterprises looking to invest in the sands.
English version
Did you find this useful?