Canadian ideas at work

Conviction, tenacity and determination are traits that have long been associated with Canada. We’re a nation with a will to succeed. We’re a nation that can make the impossible possible. That same sense of conviction, tenacity and determination that built our country helped unlock the oil sands – one of Canada’s great natural resources – when no-one thought it was possible.

Because the oil in the oil sands is thick and embedded in sands, it doesn't flow. And most of it is deep under the ground – as deep as 450 metres underground. But that didn’t stop Canadians from finding a way to get it out of the ground. The invention of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD, pronounced SAG-DEE) technology made that possible, and we’re proud of our part in pioneering the technology. Our Foster Creek project has the distinction of being the first commercial SAGD operation.

Working to improve

SAGD isn’t a single solution – it’s a complex technology that will keep improving as innovative advancements are made. One of our ongoing objectives is to advance technologies that increase oil production using the smallest amount of water, natural gas, electricity and land. In fact, we have dedicated people working on about 140 technology development projects in various stages.