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Cooperation between governments, industry key to long-term success in Canada’s oil sands

New strategies must incorporate practices designed to promote sustainable development

Calgary, September 19, 2008 — Substantial cooperation between federal and provincial governments and the petroleum industry is key to optimizing the long-term development of Canada’s oil sands, according to a report released today by Deloitte titled Producers’ Dilemma II: Managing development in a world of scarcity. Producers find themselves balancing increased costs and demand against finite supply and greater environmental scrutiny. So, collaborative investment in practices designed to promote sustainable development, such as carbon capture and storage, should lead to both a reduction in GHG emissions and an increase in upgrading and refining in Alberta.

“It’s no secret that the accelerating pace of oil sands development brings with it a host of difficulties and challenges — from concerns over environmental impact to ongoing labour and supply bottlenecks — that have producers questioning exactly how they’re going to keep the momentum going. But the real issue is establishing a development pace that can have a measurable impact on rising demand while also respecting escalating environmental limits,” says Dick Cooper, partner and leader of Deloitte’s national Energy and Resources practice. “The results of our study suggest that following the status quo puts the prospect of sustainable development at risk.”

Last year, Deloitte set out to shed light on this situation using the mathematics of game theory to model development scenarios. While the study’s first phase (a simulation) revealed two core outcomes — maintain pace and maintain peace, where the evident need to choose between the two was the literal dilemma itself — the second phase, released today (which featured the participation of eight major oil sands companies and the Alberta Government), strikingly reveals a unification of these seemingly divergent paths: pace can be maintained, but only if peace is equally maintained.

Producers’ Dilemma therefore advocates a collaborative response to the challenges of oil sands development because collaboration enables access to a greater degree of knowledge, experience, skills and the financial resources needed to make broader investments toward solving bigger problems.

For full details, download a copy of both first and second phase reports at

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada’s leading professional services firms, provides tax, audit, consulting, and financial advisory services through more than 7,600 people in 56 offices. Deloitte operates in Québec as Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. the firm is dedicated to helping clients and its people excel. Deloitte is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and its Member Firms.

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