Keywords: climate change, sustainable development, sustainable production, systems modelling, simulation, technology assessment, management science, dynamic modelling, Canada, oil sands industry, sustainability assessment, statistical analysis, uncertainty analysis, greenhouse gases
Developing a dynamic systems model for the sustainable development of the Canadian oil sands industry
One technique in management science that can be applied for sustainability assessment is simulation modelling supported by statistical and uncertainty analyses. A dynamic system modelling approach has been developed to assess the sustainability of novel technologies and to analyse how these technologies can be exploited to meet the triple bottom line objectives of sustainability. A prototype model of the oil sands industry, comprising a suite of systems models representing important variables of the environment, society and economy, including their inter-linkages over time has been developed. These models are used to simulate possible scenarios for assessing novel and innovative technologies, which are capable of reducing resource consumptions and environmental emissions while meeting production targets and societal needs. There are two identified emerging technologies that have a high potential for lowering Greenhouse Gases emissions in the Canadian oil sands industry. Projected trends for natural gas consumption, water consumption, operating and supply costs, population and other quantitative indicators of sustainability were also analysed.