Tangent Environmental Technologies

Alberta energy tries to green up its act

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Courtesy of Tangent Environmental Technologies

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.

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