Remote equipment monitoring is crucial to the continued expansion of companies in the oil sands industry, particularly when it comes to sustainability and increasing production levels.

A pair of new developments in the Canadian oil sands industry have illustrated the important role that remote equipment monitoring solutions can play in fostering continued growth. Energy company Enbridge recently moved forward with plans to construct a 600 mile (965 km) pipeline that would transport oil from Flanagan, Ill., to the corporation's terminal in Cushing, Okla., reported the Athabasca Advocate. The pipeline would facilitate transportation of oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

The Calgary-based company is currently awaiting an expedited permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and hopes to move forward on construction in August, reported the news source. The Keystone XL project has made more headlines for its possible impact on the environment, but much of the debate that has stagnated the project stems from the pipe's crossing of international boundaries. The Enbridge pipeline project has been able to move forward at a much quicker pace.

Enbridge representatives cited their remote equipment monitoring solutions as enabling the company to keep a close watch on the pipeline, its pump stations and other associated equipment, reported the Advocate. If anything seems amiss, the equipment maintenance software can immediately alert Enbridge technicians, who can shut down the operation "from just a touch of a button," according to Enbridge spokeswoman Katie Lange.

"Once the pipeline is in the ground, there's a very rigorous and robust operations and maintenance program," Lange told the news source.

Government officials in western Illinois and Missouri spoke to the advantages that the pipeline will offer to nearby towns and residents, including hundreds of construction jobs and a long-term boost for local businesses. Additionally, Enbridge's status as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations can help promote North American initiatives for cleaner energy and more rigorous environmental standards.

Increasing viability of Athabasca oil sands
Strategizing increased use of equipment monitoring systems for the world's largest source of crude bitumen reserves could improve operations efficacy and promote positive domino effects for revenue and expansion. The Athabasca oil sand deposit is responsible for 98 percent of Canadian oil reserves, according to Mining.com, and is the source of Canada's position in the upper echelon of crude oil reserves suppliers along with Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The current production is estimated to by 3.858 thousand barrels a day. As global demand for oil continues to increase, particular in oil-poor countries like China and Japan, maintaining optimal capacity can lead to higher windfalls and more job creation.