Opening keynote session - Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Ministerial Session
The Honourable Rona Ambrose, PC, MP

First elected as a Member of Parliament in 2004, Minister Ambrose was re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2011. When she was appointed Minister of the Environment in 2006, she was the youngest woman to be appointed to Cabinet in Canadian history.

Today, Ms. Ambrose is the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister Responsible for Western Economic Diversification, Shared Services Canada and Vice-Chair of the Treasury Board.

In her role as Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister Ambrose has made improving the transparency, accountability and fairness of the procurement process one of her top priorities. When the Government of Canada made the historic decision to build the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard fleets in Canada, it was under Minister Ambrose’s leadership that the Government of Canada developed and implemented the successful National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. This strategy ensured that process used to award the $33 billion in contracts was fair, independent and merit-based.

As the Minister for the Status of Women, she has worked tirelessly and courageously to address the problem of violence against women and girls. She has shown leadership by raising awareness of honour crimes in Canada and promoting equal rights for Aboriginal women.

She led Canada's call for an "International Day of the Girl" at the United Nations to help raise awareness of the discrimination girls face, as well as their tremendous potential. The House of Commons unanimously supported a motion put forward by Ms. Ambrose to have Canada lead this international campaign. The resolution designating the International Day of the Girl was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011. Canada celebrated the first International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2012.

Her community service has included involvement in organizations working to end violence against women, including the Status of Women's Action Group, the Victoria Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse Crisis Centre, and the Edmonton Women's Shelter.

Ms. Ambrose holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria and a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta.


Opportunities to Improve the Competitiveness of Alberta’s Oil Sands Products for U.S. Refineries
Duke du Plessis - Alberta Innovates: Energy and Environment Solutions

The challenges faced by Alberta’s oil sands products include refinery pricing mechanisms that discount Alberta Dilbit, limited pipeline availability, growing volumes of high quality competitive “tight oils” and decline in transportation fuel demand in North American market. A study was undertaken to evaluate the refinery incentives to modify key qualities of oil sands products and the potential for improving their competiveness and market value.

 Linear programming refinery models were used to determine the incentives for reducing vacuum resid, sulfur, aromatics and basic nitrogen of Dilbit in typical PADD II refineries. Technology options to improve the quality and competitiveness are identified. The paper
discusses the AI-EES Hydrocarbon Upgrading Program and the joint AI-EES/NRCan research on oil sands crude quality improvements at the Devon, Alberta research facility.

Dr. du Plessis is Senior Advisor (Energy Technologies) with Alberta Innovates: Energy and Environment Solutions (previously Alberta Energy Research Institute-AERI) and Alberta Finance and Enterprise. He works with industry and government organizations in the areas of oil sands, upgrading, refining, petrochemicals, environment and clean energy technologies. Responsibilities include development of new and improved technologies, strategic planning, stimulating innovation and the growth of Alberta’s energy industry. Dr du Plessis has extensive experience in directing and managing research and technology development in the public and private sectors. His industrial experience includes process
engineering at SASOL, South Africa (synthetic fuels) and oil sands piloting and process development in Alberta. Dr. du Plessis is a registered professional engineer and a member of various professional organizations including the Petroleum Society, the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE). He holds a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Natal, Durban South Africa and a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton.


Richard George, Former Chief Executive Officer, Suncor

Rick George is both a contrarian and an optimist. One of Canada's most transformative business figures, during the twenty years he spent as president and chief executive officer of Suncor Energy, it went from being Canada's "unluckiest oil company," to a stock-market darling and the second-largest publically traded corporation in the country. Rick shares the wisdom he amassed from running the multi-billion dollar company, speaking with authority on innovation, optimism, leadership, strategy, energy policy, and politics.

Rick was appointed president and CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. in 1991, and retired in the spring of 2012. He was named Outstanding CEO of the Year in 1999, after leading a remarkable business turnaround at Suncor, and he received the Canadian Business Leader Award in 2000. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2011 for his leadership in the development of Canada's natural resources sector; for his efforts to provide economic opportunities to Aboriginal communities; and for his commitment to sustainable development.

Rick was recently named chairman of the Board of Directors of Osum Oil Sands, a private energy company that is making an impact in the Canadian oil sands by capitalizing on unrealized bitumen potential. He also serves on the boards of The Royal Bank of Canada and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. He served as chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives from 2003-06, and was selected to serve as chair of the Canadian contingent of the North American Competitiveness Council in 2008. He was a member of the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness in 2007, and chair of the 2008 Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference. Rick also is involved with the Juno House Foundation, which specializes in issues surrounding young women’s mental health, and donates all of his speaking fees to this valuable cause.

Rick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Colorado State University, a law degree from the University of Houston Law School, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development.



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