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Syncrude employees improve reliability one idea at a time

Feb 29, 2016

Each year, Syncrude employees develop and implement technology that enables the company to be more reliable and improve environmental performance. Over the past five years, there has been a significant increase in patent activity within Syncrude and the oil sand industry.

“Inventors come from all over Syncrude,” says Shelley Lynes of Research and Development, and Chair of Syncrude’s Patent Committee. “An inventor is anyone who is innovating new technology that improves the way we do something whether it is safety, reliability or cost.”

Shelley says when it comes to patenting, the process begins with a new idea. Ideas can come in many forms such as the development of a new technology, a new process or improvements to a piece of equipment.

In 2015 Syncrude was issued patents for 15 new technology innovations, bringing Syncrude’s total count of Canadian patents to 166. While they bring prestige to their inventors, patents are critical to Syncrude for two reasons.

Patents protect Syncrude’s intellectual property and the ability to use its own technology developments. It also helps Syncrude with operational challenges relating to the environment, production and reliability. Protecting technology not only ensures freedom to operate but saves operating costs by not having to pay for licensing technology from others.

A priority for Syncrude’s Research and Development team is to continually improve environmental focus, production process and operations.

“Syncrude has come a long way when it comes to the development and implementation of leading-edge technologies that add value to our operation,” says Shelley. “Patents are a great validation of these new technologies and they’re a great reflection of our ever-expanding body of knowledge.”