Seeking Natural Gas Cogeneration Technologies from Around the Globe


Steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations combust large quantities of natural gas to produce steam, which is then used to heat bitumen underground and cause it to flow to the surface.

COSIA seeks natural gas decarbonization technologies that would process the natural gas to reduce its carbon content before it is burned in steam generation. In this way, the potential technologies would use part of the natural gas supply as fuel and/or heat, and yield co-products that could be used as other commodities or repurposed in other parts of oil sands process, such as diluent or solvent.

Following a literature scan and high-level analysis of potential technologies identified through COSIA’s Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP), the Natural Gas Decarbonization Global Technology Scan and Evaluation project, led by Canadian Natural with participation by Suncor and Imperial, is a more detailed review of all potential chemical pathways for natural gas decarbonization. The research provides valuable information to support future phases of technology development.

The Technology

The study ranks the identified technologies against various environmental and economic criteria.


By reviewing and evaluating potential natural gas decarbonization technologies from other industries around the world, the project aims to perform a high level environmental and economic evaluation of the chemical pathways and/or technologies potentially available for use by the oil sands industry.

Potential/Actual Environmental Benefits

  • Using methane to make hydrogen for fuel and other saleable products is transformational because it uses the carbon in methane, which would otherwise be released as carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Reducing net emissions of CO2 from operating facilities.


A final report of technologies, each ranked against a set of environmental and economic criteria, to be used to narrow down those possibilities worthy of further analysis.