Collaboration in the Oil Sands! The story continues.

In August of this year, I wrote that Royal Dutch Shell had announced that it had some proprietary technology to be used in the Oil Sands to shorten the length of time to process the tailings ponds.  Just last week, I wrote to you about Nike’s plan to make available it’s Environmental Apparel Design Tool.  What’s driving these kinds of moves?  Competition and Collaboration?  In my opinion, YES!  This is part of the new sustainable business model that corporations are competing against.

To continue this story, today in the Globe and Mail, we have another article suggesting that there’s more to the Royal Dutch Shell story than I first discussed.  The article suggests that Canada’s largest oil sands companies have come together and have struck a deal that will see them collaborate in ways to clean up the tailings ponds.  The article states:

Joining forces, companies hope, will allow for a more rapid adoption of technological solutions that both lighten their environmental footprint and possibly boost future profits.  Rather than attempt to sell or license their intellectual property, oil sands companies will exchange know-how.

The industry is expected to announce this collaborative approach later this month, though the legal framework for the deal may still need to be finalized.  The article goes on to suggest that the leaders with the technology may get back some of their research dollars as well.  It is supposedly structured so that companies can contribute all of their information, the information is valued and then equalized on that basis.  This should be good news for Suncor, Royal Dutch Shell and their shareholders!

Overall, it’s refreshing to see what is often considered a “dirty-old-industry” to be stepping up to competitiveness through collaboration and co-operation.  This is a new model that we all need to watch.  Especially if we want to invest in competitively positioned corporations in the future.


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