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How CNRL is Using Innovation to Reduce Operational Cost and Risk: Exclusive Interview with Canadian Natural Resources Limited VP of Technology & Innovation

Joy Romero

In the lead-up to the Operational Excellence in Energy, Chemicals & Resources Summit, our partners at IQPC had the pleasure of catching up with Joy Romero, VP of Technology & Innovation at CNRL. Joy provides insight into CNRL’s use of ‘game changing’ technologies as well as their current carbon conversion initiatives.


Joy will be joining senior industry leaders from Canfor and Imperial Oil in a panel discussion on accelerating your digital strategy and the action plan to make it happen at the upcoming Operational Excellence in Energy, Chemicals & Resources Summit taking place in Calgary this June 4-6. Join Joy and 250+ Operations leaders to discuss how to optimize safety, efficiency, sustainability and reliability to drive world-class business performance. Download the 2019 agenda to find out more >>

To start, Joy can you tell us a little bit about what operational excellence means to Canadian Natural Resources Limited and how your role as Vice President Technology and Innovation fits into that?

Like many companies, Canadian Natural has been on a journey towards operational excellence for many years, and that means that each year we are striving to get better. We’ve implemented programs like Lean Six Sigma and 4dx across our company to drive efficiency and accountability.

As we continue on our journey to be the best that we can be, that means that we are continuously changing.  As Vice President of Technology and Innovation, my team is accountable for the systems that are in place to support people in executing innovation across the entire company. We are helping to company to reduce costs while simultaneously reducing our operating footprint and improving safety, all of which are the basic building blocks of operational excellence.

Given the current business climate innovation is more important than ever for the oil and gas industry. How are technologies helping the industry reduce operating cost and operational risk?  Which technologies do you see as real game changers?

Our industry has a long history of innovation; we exist because of innovation, so it is definitely part of our culture. There are some really interesting things going on in the technology world to ensure a viable and sustainable oil and gas industry long into Canada’s future. The technologies that both reduce our costs and improve our environmental performance are obvious winners. They are similar to turning the furnace down in your house – you save money and you reduce your environmental footprint. The same kind of thing applies to our operations.

Technologies that are real game changers for us right now focus on what would have been waste and turning it into a revenue stream. We are working with Titanium Corp to take Froth Treatment tailings stream and recover titanium and zircon which are products that can be potentially sold. This technology also increases our hydrocarbon recovery and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

We are piloting a technology that we call In-Pit Extraction Process which extracts bitumen right in the mine pit to eliminate tailings ponds as the clays, sand and rock that are rejected are dry and stackable right in the same pit. This will reduce our greenhouse gases by [….]

To continue to read more download the full interview here.



Joy Romero will be speaking at the upcoming Operational Excellence in Energy, Chemicals & Resources Summit taking place in Calgary this June 4-6. Join Joy and 250+ industry leaders from Suncor, Enbridge, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Andeavor, SaskPower, LNG Canada, Equinor, Dow Chemical Company, ENMAX, Veolia, Glencore Nikkelverk, Repsol, HydroOne, Nutrien, Chevron and many more, to learn the latest techniques and tools to increase efficiency and optimize productivity – without compromising reliability, safety, and compliance.

>> Download the 2019 agenda to see the full event line-up

Energy Now subscribers are entitled to receive a 15% discount* on their conference pass. Simply quote discount code ENERGYNOW15 when registering online at .

*Available to in-house industry professionals on standard rates only

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