Innovation Nation: How technology is taking the guesswork out of pricing crude oil

Norman Ahmad, left, and Dr. Ian Burgess developed a system to help energy companies receive a fairer price for their product.Gigi Suhanic/National Post

Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The Financial Post set out explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. You can find all of our coverage here.


Long before the debate over pipeline construction, the oil price differential, production curtailment and government-purchased rail cars dominated headlines, a pair of Toronto entrepreneurs were busy travelling from wellsite to wellsite in frigid northern Alberta, testing technology that has the potential to transform the conversation.

Ian Burgess and Nouman Ahmad had developed a system to help energy companies receive a fairer price for their product — a possible solution to the price differential problem that has plagued both conventional and unconventional oil and gas producers.

“On our very first hardware field test, I hit a whiteout storm driving north from Edmonton,” recalled Burgess with a laugh, “and my van full of equipment started to skid. I remember thinking ‘this could turn out to be a very expensive first trip.’” Fortunately, he was able to stay on the road.

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