Read the announcement press release (PDF)

CALGARY, Alberta, June 9, 2021 – Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy today officially announced the Carbon Neutral Oil Sands Initiative. These companies produce approximately 90% of Canada’s tar sands oil. The objective of this unprecedented alliance in collaboration with the federal and Alberta governments is to reduce the net production of greenhouse gases (GHG) by companies from the exploitation of the oil sands to zero by 2050 and help Canada achieve its climate goals, in line with its commitment under the Paris Agreement to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

  • This collaboration comes after the governments of Canada and Alberta announced major support programs for emissions reduction projects and infrastructure. Collaboration between industry and government will be essential to realizing the vision of the Carbon Neutral Oil Sands Initiative and achieving Canada’s climate goals.
  • The vision for the project revolves around the construction of a carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) mainline connected to a carbon sequestration facility. Multi-sectoral projects could thus be connected to this line and allow an increased reduction of emissions. The proposed CUSC system is inspired by the multi-billion dollar Longship/Northern Lights project in Norway as well as other CUSC projects in the Netherlands, UK and USA, all of which are based on a close collaboration between industry and government.
  • The project is particularly ambitious and will require significant investment from industry and public authorities to stimulate research and development of innovative and promising technologies.
  • The companies involved look forward to working with the governments of Canada and Alberta and engaging with Indigenous communities in northern Alberta to make this ambitious and major emissions reduction project a reality. so that these communities can continue to benefit from Canadian resource development.

As proud Canadian companies, the members of the alliance share the aspiration of Canadians to find realistic and achievable solutions to the challenge of climate change. The oil sands industry is a significant source of GHG emissions and the initiative will develop a workable approach to reducing these emissions, while preserving the oil sands contribution to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) estimated to over $3 trillion over the next 30 years. The initiative will create jobs, accelerate the development of the clean technology sector, benefit multiple other sectors and help maintain the quality of life of Canadians.

To combat GHG emissions and achieve the goal of net zero emissions, the initiative provides for the implementation of several projects in parallel, including the following:

  • The deployment of core infrastructure in Alberta connecting oil sands facilities in the Fort McMurray and Cold Lake areas to a carbon sequestration center near Cold Lake via a CO₂ pipeline. Other businesses in the area interested in carbon capture and sequestration could connect to this mainline. It is also possible to connect the infrastructure corridor to the Edmonton area.
  • The use of existing and emerging GHG reduction technologies at oil sands operations along this corridor, including CCUS technology, clean hydrogen, process improvements, energy efficiency, fuel switching and electrification.
  • Assessing, testing and accelerating the deployment of potential emerging emission reduction technologies, direct air capture, next generation recovery technologies and small modular nuclear reactors.

In addition to collaborating and co-investing with industry, it is essential that governments develop supportive policies and institute fiscal and regulatory programs that will create the right climate of certainty for this type of long-term investment and large scale. This includes reliable access to carbon sequestration rights, emission reduction credits and investment tax credits on an ongoing basis. We very much look forward to continuing our collaboration with the federal and Alberta governments to establish with them the regulatory, political and fiscal framework necessary to ensure the economic viability of this initiative.

Canada is uniquely positioned to become a world leader in responsible oil development. The country has the third largest oil reserves in the world and its standards and regulations governing energy projects are among the most stringent in the world. The country has a strong reputation for technology development and industry collaboration with Indigenous communities and municipalities. Members of the initiative believe that the most effective way to fight climate change is through the development of new technologies. They say they are convinced that Canadians will succeed in meeting this unprecedented challenge thanks to their ingenuity, their spirit of initiative and their sense of collaboration.

Although we know that alternative energy sources will take center stage in the coming decades, it is internationally accepted that humanity will need fossil fuels until 2050 and beyond. These will be part of the energy mix and will continue to be used in the composition of carbon fibers, asphalt, petrochemicals and other important products, among others. We believe it is essential to act now so that Canada can take its place as a leading supplier of responsibly extracted oil and meet global energy demand in the years to come. come.


Government of Alberta

“The Carbon Neutral Oil Sands Initiative is an industry-led, made-in-Alberta solution that will strengthen our position as a global leader in ESG principles,” said Sonya Savage, Alberta’s Minister of Energy Alberta. All credible energy forecasts indicate that oil will be a major part of the energy mix in the coming decades and even beyond 2050. Alberta is exceptionally well placed and ready to meet this demand. This initiative will also pave the way for continued technological advancements, which will ultimately lead to the production of carbon-neutral barrels of oil.»

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

“By dramatically reducing emissions and embracing a balanced and sustainable approach to economic development, Canada has an opportunity to play a leading role in the fight against climate change,” said Tim McKay, President of Canadian Natural Resources. Canadian ingenuity has made possible the development of the oil sands. By continuing to innovate in respect of ESG criteria, Canada affirms its role as a leader in oil exploitation to meet global energy demand. We are committed to working with industry partners and governments to help achieve Canada’s climate goals, while allowing people to enjoy long-term economic and social benefits from the oil sands.»

Cenovus Energy

This cross-company collaborative effort demonstrates our deep commitment to fighting climate change globally, said Alex Pourbaix, President and CEO of Cenovus. We don’t just talk about the need to participate; we are taking bold steps to reduce emissions and are carving out our place as the supplier of choice to meet the world’s growing demand for energy. »


“Canada has what it takes to be a responsible supplier of energy to the world,” said Brad Corson, president and CEO of Imperial and President of the council. Canada’s long-term success in addressing the climate challenge rests on our collective commitment to innovation, remaining globally competitive, enacting supportive public policies, and maintaining dialogue to find constructive solutions. Imperial works with other industry players and governments to develop and commercialize advanced technologies that will reduce emissions and help us achieve carbon neutrality.»

MEG Energy

“We are pleased to be part of this collaborative effort in support of the critical steps needed to achieve carbon neutrality in the oil sands,” said Derek Evans, President and CEO of MEG Energy. Today’s bold action demonstrates our commitment to fighting climate change and our global climate leadership. This alliance working collectively with the federal and Alberta governments and all stakeholders will ensure that Canada continues to be a leading supplier of responsibly produced oil to the world.»

Suncor Energy

To achieve lofty goals, collaboration between business, the innovation sector and governments is essential. This is what has allowed us to transform an emerging oil sands resource into one of the most reliable and ESG-friendly oil plays in the world, said Mark Little, President and CEO of Suncor. Canada, one of the few jurisdictions operating industrial – scale commercial CCUS projects, and Alberta, which has abundant natural gas resources, geological structure and technological expertise, are perfectly positioned to play a leading role in this field.»

About the initiative’s partner companies

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural) is a leading oil and natural gas production company, with operations continuing in its principal regions located in Western Canada, the UK North Sea and the off Africa. Canadian Natural shares trade under the symbol CNQ on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. To view the complete forward-looking statements, please visit the company’s website at

Cenovus Energy Inc.

Cenovus Energy Inc. is an integrated energy company producing oil and natural gas in Canada and the Asia-Pacific region, with upgrading, refining and marketing activities in Canada and the United States. The company is dedicated to managing its assets with a view to safety, innovation and profitability, and strives to integrate environmental, social and governance considerations into its business plans. Cenovus common shares and warrants are listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges, and the company’s preferred shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol CVE. For more information, visit


After nearly more than a century in business, Imperial continues to lead its industry by applying technology and innovation to the responsible development of Canada’s energy resources. As Canada’s largest petroleum refiner, a leading crude oil and petrochemicals producer, and a leading national fuels marketer, our company is committed to maintaining high standards in all areas of our business.

MEG Energy

MEG is an energy company focused on sustainable in-situ thermal oil production in the Southern Athabasca oil region of Alberta, Canada. MEG is actively developing innovative enhanced oil recovery projects that use Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) mining methods to improve responsible economic recovery of oil as well as reduce carbon emissions. MEG transports and sells its thermal oil (AWB) to customers throughout North America and around the world.

Suncor Energy

Suncor Energy is Canada’s largest integrated energy company, with a global team of more than 30,000 people. Suncor’s activities include oil sands development, production and upgrading, offshore oil and gas production, petroleum refining in Canada and the United States, and our national sales distribution network in Petro-Canada retail (now including our electric Trans-Canada Highway, a network of EV fast charging stations). As a member of the Dow Jones, FTSE4Good and CDP Sustainability Indices, Suncor harnesses petroleum resources responsibly, while focusing on the profitable growth of a portfolio of renewable energy sources and advancing the transition to a low carbon.

Read the announcement press release (PDF)

Our people, their stories

Passionate, dedicated people are behind every innovation and every step forward.