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Embrace hydrocarbons

Innovator Bob Mitchell says carbon is not the boogeyman; Alberta could lead the world in better energy utilization.

December 31, 2014   by Lynda Harrison

ConocoPhillips' Ghost Pine gas battery in Morrin, Alta. PHOTO: CONOCOPHILLIPS

ConocoPhillips’ Ghost Pine gas battery in Morrin, Alta. PHOTO: CONOCOPHILLIPS

Alberta has the opportunity and the responsibility to lead the world in hydrocarbon utilization, and not just in reducing the CO2 intensity of energy production, developing carbon capture and long-term geologic storage projects, or fuel switching from hydrocarbons to renewables. Instead, Bob Mitchell sees a world where hydrocarbons help elevate the livelihood and well-being of the globe as its population continues to increase.

“Quit running away from the climate change challenge as if it’s a threat. Look at it as an opportunity and we can do a lot,” Mitchell, senior director of innovating for performance and sustainability in ConocoPhillips Canada’s oil sands business unit, told an Oilsands Review Speaker Series breakfast.

He said that Alberta needs a flue-gas capture and carbon dioxide (CO2) commercialization centre – even a campus – where innovators can toss out their hunches, kickstart innovation in important new areas and get more value out of the province’s hydrocarbons.

“We need to give people a place to prove, to de-risk technologies so we can apply them back in a commercial space. If we do I really think the world will embrace this,” he said, noting some “really cool things” can be made from carbon-based materials.
He suggested Alberta could contribute the practice

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