Osum Grosmont Carbonates Presentation Wins Award

In early May, more than 4000 geologists and geophysicists descended upon Calgary to attend GeoConvention 2013.  There was a superb lineup of technical sessions, as well as a world-class core conference held at the ERCB Core Research Centre.

The core conference showcased integrated core and poster displays focused on:

  • Conventional hydrocarbon systems
  • Unconventional hydrocarbon systems, including shale gas and oil sands
  • Sedimentology of clastic and carbonate rocks.

Many of the Osum team were in attendance, including Alex MacNeil, Senior Geologist (Carbonates).  Alex presented his poster display: Recognizing Potential in the Bitumen Saturated Dolostones of the Upper Devonian Nisku Formation Through Comparison with the Grosmont Formation (co-authored by Jen Russel-Houston and Ken Gray).  Click this link to read the published abstract from the conference.

We recently learned that the presentation has been chosen by peers at GeoConvention 2013 to receive the Best Core Presentation Award.  This award will be presented at the CSPG luncheon in early June.

Here is a picture of Alex in action at the conference:

Alex MacNeil GeoConvention 2013

Dr. Jen Russel-Houston, Osum’s Manager of Geosciences was also featured on the Agile* Geoscience blog in this post about GeoConvention 2013.








Cold Lake High School Students Participate in “Set” Conference at The University of Alberta

Guest post by Jennifer Dusyk-Johnson, Cold Lake High School Science Teacher


On November 23rd  sixteen students from Cold Lake High School travelled to Edmonton to join close to 300 students from across the province, to participate in the annual “Set” Conference put on by the WISEST (Women in Science Engineering and Technology) Organization from the U of A.  Through participating in this conference students had an opportunity to speak with young women mentors who are currently studying in various science and technology disciplines.  They also were able to participate in two different lab sessions facilitated by mentor students from the U of A, and get a feel for the campus and what campus life might be like.  The session closed with an inspirational speaker Dr. Margaret Ann Armor who has received the Order of Canada and twice has been selected as one of the Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women; she related the research being done at the U of A with leading edge research worldwide including a component of the Hadron Collider designed by Professor James Pinfold, a scientist at the U of A.  Overall the students had a phenomenal experience and we would like to extend a thank you to Osum Oil Sands Corporation for sponsoring this trip, which provided our students with the opportunity to participate in this exceptional conference.

Below you will also find a compilation of the students’ “take away” statements summarizing what they learned or got from participating in the conference:

“I enjoyed the chance to see what physics was about.  I also really liked being able to see the orange juice oil eat away the Styrofoam cup…I found that interesting.”
Caitlin Sjodin, Grade 10

“I took away the awareness of how a university looks and what it is like being in and learning in a university classroom.  I also discovered I have a passion for Biology.”
Tyrah Fiedler, Grade 10

“The mentors and university students really inspired me.  I enjoyed the labs and am more educated about all of the areas and careers in science.”
Amy Dolynny, Grade 10

“At WISEST I enjoyed the labs we got to do.  I found them interesting and fun.  It was nice talking to the role models, it helped me understand about going to university.”
Kailyn Wiebe, Grade 11

“I really enjoyed seeing Margaret-Ann Armour and seeing some of the contributions she has made to science.  It showed that if you enjoy and drive to do things you like, then you can do anything, no matter what circumstances hold you back.”
Ashlee Tomalty, Grade 12

“I found the WISEST Conference really helpful and I am glad I went on this trip.  I met new people and learned a lot of things.”
Harshini Vijay, Grade 11

“I learned a lot at this conference, but my favorite part was hearing Margaret-Ann Armour speak.”
Lauren Campbell, Grade 12

“On the trip we saw women who were very passionate about what they were doing in life.  It made me feel better about going into sciences as a woman.  I learned that I can do simple experiments at home, and that university takes a lot of dedication.  I enjoyed the experience, especially the lab workshops.  Thank you for the experience.”
Justice Macauley, Grade 12

“I very much enjoyed the mentoring sessions, and the labs we did.  I learned a lot about what to expect in university, and even later in life when balancing work and a personal life.  All in all it was a great experience.”
Allyssa Mills, Grade 12

 “I enjoyed seeing the university itself, seeing the classrooms and doing the labs we did.”
Lauren Reider, Grade 11

 “I took away that it is important to follow your passion.  Listening to the role models talk about their own experiences inspired me.  I am more educated about the jobs that are in the field of science.  I really enjoyed the experiments we did, and I enjoyed listening to Margaret-Ann Armour talk.”
Lauren Hillaby, Grade 12

“I learned a lot about what it’s like to be in university and it also helped me figure out what I want to be when I graduate.”
JoJo Deady, Grade 11

 “At the WISEST conference I learned a lot about the science programs at the university.  It helped me with my decision about going to the U of A.”
Jillian Wychopen, Grade 10

“I enjoyed all of the activities that we did, and I enjoyed Margaret-Ann Armour’s speech at the end of the day.  I learned a lot.”
Michaela Coulter, Grade 10

 “Personally I feel my favorite part was the sit-down with the mentor women, where they told us what it’s like to have a career in science, like in the world of engineering.”
Nicole Gillespie, Grade 11

“What I took away from the WISEST conference was that there are so many areas of study, and that life is a journey of learning.  Also, it was really nice to have a meeting with women who are in a specific career, and learn how they are able to balance their work and personal lives.  Another great thing was being able to do the hands-on experiments; it really allowed us to feel and experience something new.”
Hanna Cox, Grade 10


Taiga Project Town Hall Scheduled for November 22nd



With the help and support of our neighbours in the Lakeland, the Taiga Project achieved a number of important milestones this year. After a Regulatory Hearing in July with the Energy and Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the project was recommended for approval in September and received final approval in Council in October. Now, we are looking ahead to an exciting year in 2013.

Knowing that you may have a number of questions for us regarding the project at this stage, we are holding a Town Hall on November 22 at the Riverhurst Hall.

Please join us to discuss:

  • engineering, procurement and construction,
  • human resources opportunities,
  • community,
  • environment,
  • health and safety,
  • operations, and
  • other topics that may be of importance to you

The Taiga Project Town Hall will run from 5:00pm until 9:00pm on Thursday November 22 at the Riverhurst Hall, with a buffet style dinner to be served. We look forward to seeing you there.



Bonnyville Pontiacs Education Breakfast

We’re proud to partner with the Bonnyville Pontiacs once again this year, to present their third annual Education Breakfast on Monday, August 20.

This year’s breakfast at the Bonnyville Centennial Centre will feature a keynote presentation by former Oiler’s assistant coach, and current CBC Hockey Night in Canada personality, Craig Simpson. All money raised from ticket sales will go to support the Pontiacs’ Education fund – bursaries that help team members, past and present, as they continue their post-secondary careers.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs are a first class organization who put a keen focus on player development both on and off the ice. They are committed to not only promoting quality, high level hockey, but also to raising strong and responsible young adults. The Education Breakfast is just one example of how the organization is fostering youth development in the Lakeland.

We’re true believers that young players of amateur sport, like the Bonnyville Pontiacs, are role models. They will be leaders in the future so we want to give them every opportunity to succeed in life that we possibly can. We applaud their hard work to get where they are today.

For more information on how to purchase tickets call the Pontiacs Office at (780) 826-2893 or email pontiacs@ajhl.ca. Tickets are $100 for a single seat or $800 for a table of eight.

Osum Conversation Series: Minimizing Community Disturbances

It is often in the smallest details where we can make the biggest differences. For some of our neighbours, the best way to leave a lasting impression is to remain as unnoticeable as possible. When it comes to running a clean, efficient and effective operation, we have carefully considered how to maximize safety and minimize smells, sounds and disturbances. One of the many talented people that is contributing to the Taiga Project is Denniz Ozaruk, Taiga Operations Foreman. Dennis’ knowledge of the advanced technologies that we are using, his years of experience and his first hand knowledge of the reservoirs in the area all make him an integral member of the project team.

In this installment of the Osum Conversation Series, Dennis speaks about the various functions of his job and what drew him to come work at Osum. He also explains how we have designed the Vapour Recover System for the Taiga Project with multiple compressors so that there is always a unit running on “hot standby,” ready to take the load in case of any disruptions to the primary unit. This is just one example of our commitment to go the extra mile in every aspect of our operations.

Osum Conversation Series: Our Commitment to Stewardship

A common question asked by our neighbors when it comes to our oil sands operations is – What is being done to ensure all environmental considerations and obligations are being met over the course of a project? Part of our commitment involves retaining a full time environmental coordinator for each of our projects.

On the Taiga Project, our Environmental Coordinator is Heather Harms. Her responsibilities include making sure we follow all government and internal requirements to evaluate and maintain the integrity of our surrounding environment. In this installment of the Osum Conversation Series, Lisa Charleyboy and Heather discuss the different measures that we have taken to keep our commitments and reduce or eliminate impacts, as well as the typical emissions from a natural gas-burning facility like Taiga.

Looking for Leaders of Tomorrow in the Lakeland

Many of our community investment activities allow us to meet and interact with the youth of the Lakeland – and we probably don’t have to tell you that there are some extraordinary kids living in the region. Some of them are heading off to university or college soon (which isn’t cheap!) and we wanted to find a way to acknowledge these students for the amazing things that they are doing to bring positive change to their school or community.

We also wanted a way that the community could be part of this initiative. That’s why anyone can recognize a graduating student for going the extra mile. The nominator could be:

  • An employee of a non-profit that has an amazing volunteer that is graduating this year;
  • A business owner that has recognized real ingenuity, integrity and industriousness in an employee;
  • Another student who really admires the example that has been set for them by their fellow classmate; or
  • Really, anyone that has witnessed an awesome individual.

Our award isn’t just about grades in the classroom; it’s about the small acts of integrity that nominees exhibit when no one else is looking, simply because they’re committed to helping others and making the world a better place.

So, if you know a deserving student in the Lakeland, please nominate them for an Osum Leader of Tomorrow Award and take advantage of an opportunity to “pay it forward.”

Osum kicks off Saleski East Traditional Land Use Study

Community consultation should start early and be ongoing. Recently, Osum kicked off its Saleski East Traditional Land Use Study in Wabasca. Currently, we have a JV Pilot in the Grosmont Carbonates operating in the area and we have plans for our own commercial development in the years to come.

The Traditional Land Use Study that is currently underway will help document valuable historical knowledge resources for the Nation and identify relevant information for Osum to take into consideration during the planning for our Saleski project. This could include things like migration habits of animals or the location of berry patches that may be in the vicinity of our project.

For the kick-off meeting, we spent the entire day with local Elders, trappers and members of Bigstone Cree Nation answering their questions and learning about what is important to them. In addition to summarizing some of the best approaches to minimize or eliminate environmental impacts, the most talked about issues were around training and employment for residents. Included below are discussions with Beth Ann Auger and Irene Pirie captured following the event. The footage is raw, with background noise from dismantling the venue, but we thought their insights are valuable to share.


As Beth Ann and Irene express in their videos, we agree this is a time where it’s important for us to work together for a positive future for all of our stakeholders and we look forward to continued conversations with community members in our project areas. We know that as with any development, different stakeholders will have different concerns and priorities; but the earlier the discussions start, the more informed and sensitive our planning can be.

Junior FIRST® LEGO® League Helps Kids Unleash Creativity

“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” Sam Levenson

A review of our Community Investment and Focus Guidelines would tell you that Osum is passionate about initiatives that help children and youth develop into extraordinary people. Not only are we inspired by the creativeness of young minds; we are wowed by their ability to see possibilities where, sometimes, the more “experienced” generation might see obstacles.

Recently, members of the Osum team attended the kick-off night for Junior FIRST® LEGO® League – offered through Cold Lake and District FCSS. The program is focused on building an interest in science and engineering in children aged six to nine. Participants are faced with a real-world challenge and then asked to direct their curiosity and imagination towards solving it.

The program runs from April 11th until May 16th and I think you can tell from the picture below that our staff had just as much fun as the kids!

Osum Conversation Series: More FAQ’s about the Taiga Project

Consultation for our proposed Taiga project in Cold Lake started early (2008, in fact) and has been ongoing. During that time, we have been able to speak with local community members about our project – and have made significant changes to the initial project plan based on their feedback.

In this video from the Osum Conversation Series, Lisa Charleyboy speaks with Brad Braun, our Manager of Environment & Stakeholder Relations. Brad answers more of the commonly asked questions that we receive at Osum – and also addresses some misconceptions. For instance, Osum will not be using any bird deterrents for our project (these are typically associated with tailings ponds which our project does not have). We have also committed that no fresh water will be used to generate steam for the project.

We mean it when we say that two-way dialogue is a priority for us. We want to talk with our stakeholders about our project throughout its lifecycle. Answering questions, correcting inaccuracies and learning from each other is important. We are committed to being part of the Lakeland region for many years to come. As Brad mentions in this video – if you have any questions or feedback about our any of our projects, we want to hear from you.