It was, in many ways, the signing of a corporate peace treaty. On March 1, 2012, the heads of 12 of the largest energy companies in Canada sat on a downtown Calgary stage and agreed to a legal détente. No longer would they fight each other in court over patents or intellectual property on matters related to the environmental performance in the Fort McMurray area.
Instead, they would agree to work hand-in-hand on ways to make the oil sands cleaner and greener. It was, they said, quite likely the most important collaboration agreement between competitors in any industry, anywhere. It may be their single best chance to beat back a sea of criticism that threatens the very existence of their industry.