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A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on Dec. 28, 2018.

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

The federal government says it will provide $100 million from its strategic innovation fund over four years to accelerate the development and use of technologies to lower the oil and gas industry’s environmental impact.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada says the money will be provided to the Clean Resource Innovation Network, a 1,700-member consortium of companies, not-for-profit organizations, government departments and agencies, researchers, academic institutions and economic development agencies.

It says CRIN will aim to use the investment to support research projects to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by 100 megatons by 2033, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road.

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CRIN is to call for project applications in seven areas for activities related to ecosystem growth, enhancement and long-term sustainability.

At least half of the funding is to go to small and medium-sized businesses.

CRIN president Joy Romero, who is also the vice-president of technology and innovation for oilsands producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., says the funding is recognition of the innovation taking place in the energy sector.

“The federal government’s support will advance the development of clean technology, and CRIN will be an important network to help enable the transformation to a low-carbon energy future for the long term,” she said.

“This is about reducing our greenhouse gas footprint and developing technologies that can be transferable to other sectors in Canada and other producers globally.”

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