IBM Invests $1.4 Million to Create Oil Sands Center in Alberta


IBM is investing $1.4 million in 2006 to establish the IBM Oil Sands Center of Excellence to address the business challenges of efficiently extracting petroleum from Alberta's oil sands.

Located in Calgary, the Center will help reduce operational risks associated with oil sands projects by developing industry-specific business and technology solutions. These solutions will improve the efficiency of many aspects of oil sands development projects; from construction and project management, to labor productivity, process optimization and environmental management.

Oil sands projects require the construction of some of the largest open pit mines and industrial processing facilities in the world, and significant investment in people and resources is necessary. Construction project risks and operational costs are much higher than in conventional oil exploration, and oil sands projects can benefit greatly from the effective use of advances in information technology.

"Extracting and refining oil from the oil sands is a knowledge and technology intensive process," said Victor Doerksen, Alberta Minister of Innovation and Science. "New investments that support the application of technology in the oil sands are important in ensuring long-term industry success."

IBM works closely with a number of companies involved in oil sands projects and plans to partner with other technology companies and key industry players at the Center.

"The opportunity and challenges presented by Alberta's oil sands is enormous -- $70 billion in investment over the next two years alone -- and industry partnerships will be key to unlocking this potential," said Graeme Bate, a partner with IBM Canada's chemical and petroleum industry. "We're inviting oil sands companies and industry stakeholders to work with us at the Center to create new and innovative solutions for this burgeoning industry."

As global energy requirements continue to climb, the Alberta oil sands are an important part of North America's energy supplies, and the Center will help improve the financial and operational efficiency of the industry.