One Eye Industries Inc.

Alberta energy tries to green up its act


Source: One Eye Industries Inc.

Jason Snydmiller is among a growing number of oilpatch veterans who are working to make Alberta a leader in environmental technology related to the energy sector, although his ambitions are global.

'I see Alberta as one of the leaders globally for water technology,' says Snydmiller, president of a
modest startup called Tangent Environmental Technologies with a staff of six.

After spending years working his way up from his early days as roughneck on drilling rigs, he began to focus on the waste management side of the business and developed his firm's Cascade Waste Water System, which is able to recover hydrocarbons, remove harmful contaminants and send clean, treated water back to the source for repeated use on the wells.

He's already selling the system into his backyard,with companies such as Talisman Energy Inc. testing it, and he's in negotiations with energy companies in the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria and others around the world.

Snydmiller is tapping into a potential gold mine, if his venture is successful, and all signs are favourable, at this point.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board met him recently to make sure his existing and planned
technologies fit into new proposed rules for water use in the oilsands. The ERCB's proposed rules call for in situ operators-- which use water and steam to push deep bitumen deposits to the surface-- to reduce the amount of water used in the extraction process.

The regulator wants to cut the 88.2 million barrels of fresh water in situ operators use each year in Alberta by an average of 22 million barrels per year over 10 years, for a total of 220 million barrels.

The new rules, if implemented, position companies like Snydmiller's in an enviable position to exploit stricter water regulations in the province, homegrown technology that can be exported internationally.

'Alberta is under the magnifying glass on an international basis because of the simple fact that there is so much emphasis on (water use),' he says.

'It's up to us and we do have the opportunity to shine right now, with the world looking at us, to develop technology that puts us in the forefront of the industry.'

There is the added benefit of creating a whole new category of green jobs using existing expertise from the oilpatch as tighter regulations force companies to invest in environmental technology for their operations.

Snydmiller says he's got people waiting in the wings for him to grow his team as the company expands.

'We've got a lineup of people that are waiting for us to secure the contracts because they like the idea and the concepts of what we're doing with our current technology (and) further technologies,' he says.

There is growing pool of expertise in a wide range of environmental technologies, including areas such as carbon capture and sequestration, among others.

'Those pilot projects have potential to export that technology to Europe . . . and anywhere in the world,' says Grant Trump, president of the Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada.

His organization tracks demand for environmental workers in the province and he says it's increasing
every year, bolstered by a surge in demand from the oil and gas industry.

Some progressive companies in Alberta are leading the charge toward new environmental solutions in many areas.

Enmax Corp., which was named to this year's list of Canada's Greenest Employers by Mediacorp., was recognized for its efforts to invest in wind and solar power. It has also started tracking its greenhouse gas emissions since 2004 and implemented a wide range of awareness campaigns to reduce vehicle emissions and get employees involved; 87 per cent signed a pledge to reduce their environmental footprint at home and work.

Snydmiller, meanwhile, remains focused on marketing his Alberta-grown technology to the world to do his part in making the planet a little greener.

'Right now, with so much emphasis on water, being able to recycle water to use it over and over is
definitely the way of the future,' he says. 'It's definitely a step forward.'

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