Monthly Archives: November 2014

Going “Out of this World” to Solve Oil Sands GHG Problems

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (“COSIA”) today highlighted a planned project with GHGSat to investigate the use of satellites to provide accurate measurement of fugitive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from tailing ponds and mine faces.

“We’re literally going ‘out of this world’ to solve oil sands GHG problems”, said Wayne Hillier, Director GHG for COSIA. The comments were made at COSIA’s 2014 Performance Update in Calgary, Alberta.

A series of satellite measurements will be made in the atmosphere above three pre-selected tailings ponds or mines and one other emission source. Emission rates will be calculated based on those measurements and will be compared with more conventional technology measurements, including the flux chamber methodology which is currently required for annual reporting to the Alberta government.

If successful, the GHGSat approach could replace the existing method, which has a high degree of uncertainty (20 to 50 percent), high costs and high risk since contractors must conduct measurements directly on the ponds or close to the mine faces.

For more information on COSIA, please visit