45+ Ways Canada’s Oil & Gas Producers are Reducing their Environmental Footprint

Canada's oil sands leases use less land than comparitive operations in USA

Did you know that Canadian oil and natural gas producers are continually finding ways to improve on their environmental performance?

Whether it be through creating new solvent technologies to reduce upstream emissions, replacing older equipment to prevent fugitive leaks, or finding better ways to advance reclamation activities, Canada's oil and gas companies consistently lead on several environmental, social and governance (ESG) related indexes when compared with other top global producers and exporters.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are several specific examples of how Canada's oil and gas producers are taking action to reduce their environmental footprint.

22 Examples of Environmental Leadership in Canada’s Oil & Gas Sector

gas flaring from oil and gas operation

#1 - Canada ranks #1 for environmental, social and governance practices among nations with the largest oil reserves (BMO Capital Markets)

#2 - Canada ranks #2 for social and governance, and #4 for environmental practices among the world’s top 20 oil producers (BMO Capital Markets)

#3 – In 2018, Canada was the first nation in the world to commit to a 45% reduction in methane emissions from oil and natural gas production vs. 2012 levels by 2025 (Natural Resources Canada)

#4 – Of the world’s top 10 oil exporters, Canada is the only nation that has a price on carbon emissions (CA)

#5 - In 2007, Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America to take climate action with mandatory GHG emission reduction targets for industrial emitters across all sectors (Government of Alberta)

#6 - Since 2009, Canada’s oil sands sector has invested more than $9.3 billion into research and development – notably higher than other major global oil producers on a per-barrel basis (BMO Capital Markets)

#7 – Strict regulations make it mandatory for all land disturbed by oil and gas operations must be 100% reclaimed to a natural, self-sustaining state (Natural Resources Canada)

#8 - Since 2000, gas flaring in Alberta has dropped by 57%, making Canada one of the lowest gas flaring oil producers globally (BMO Capital Markets)

#9 - Canada’s oil sands per barrel greenhouse gas emissions have decreased 32% since 1990 (Government of Canada, 2019 National Inventory Report)

#10 - By 2030, upstream oil sands emissions intensity is expected to decrease 30% below 2009 levels as a result of continued innovation towards cleaner and more efficient processes (IHS Markit)

#11 – With GHG intensity down ~24% since 2012, oil sands now emit just 4-6% more than the global average from production to end-use; several projects already boast below average carbon footprints (BMO Capital Markets)

#12 – Since 2011, upstream oil sands emissions intensities have dropped by 22% (TD Securities)

Alberta is a world-class environmental oil and gas producer

#13 - Since 2011, upstream in situ oil sands emissions intensities have dropped by 12% (TD Securities)

#14 – Between 2013-2018, the use of saline water for in situ oil sands operations grew by 43%, nearly surpassing the use of fresh water (TD Securities)

#15 - In situ oil sands producers reduced fresh water use to just 0.20 barrels per unit of oil in 2018, or 60-70% below competing oils (BMO Capital Markets)

#16 – In 2018, The Alberta Energy Industry’s oil and gas extraction operations used just 0.21% of the total amount of nonsaline water available to them in the province (Alberta Energy Regulator)

#17 – In 2018, only 12% of nonsaline (fresh) water assigned to all industries in Alberta was designated for oil and gas extraction; the industry used 25% of it’s allocation.

#18 - Canada’s oil and gas industry is by far the largest spender on clean technology in Canada, accounting for 75% of the $1.4 billion spent annually (Financial Post)

#19 - In 2016, Canada’s oil and gas industry spent $3.7 billion on environmental protection, or about 44% of total spending by all sectors that year (Statistics Canada)

#20 - Between 2006-2016, Canada’s oil and gas sector spent $24.5 billion on environmental protection, by far the most of any industry in Canada and 4x higher than the next highest spender, the power generation sector (Statistics Canada)

#21 – Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) was founded in 2012 with the goal of bringing competing oil and gas producers together to collaborate on clean tech, innovation and other initiatives to improve overall environmental performance. This type of organization is unique to the world; no where else will you see collaboration coming first before competition to improve environmental performance.

#22 – To date, COSIA has spent more than $1.7 billion on research and development to improve environmental performance across Canada’s oil and gas sector (COSIA)

24 Examples of Environmental Leadership by Individual Oil & Gas Companies

Alberta's oil and gas regulatory system is world-class

#1 - Since 2004, Cenovus has reduced its oil sands emissions intensity by approximately 30%, and is committed to a further 30% reduction by 2030 and to be net-zero by 2050 (Cenovus)

#2 - In 2019, Cenovus started an equipment conversion program which has reduced methane emissions by approximately 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Cenovus)

#3 - In 2019, Cenovus reached a significant milestone – 1 million trees planted and 800 kilometres treated as part of it’s caribou habitat restoration project (Cenovus)

#4 - Between 2014-2019, Suncor reduced its GHG emission intensity by approximately 10%, with a goal of another 30% reduction by 2030 above levels seen in 2014 (Suncor)

#5 - Suncor, the owner of Canada’s largest ethanol facility, produced 400 million litres in 2019 (Suncor)

#6 - In 2019, Suncor operated and sanctioned 2,400 megawatts (MW) of low-carbon power, enough to supply electricity for 2.25 million homes annually (Suncor)

#7 - At its Fort Hills mining operation, Suncor produces oil with more than 50% lower GHG intensity than the oil sands average (Suncor)

#8 - Suncor’s newly sanctioned cogeneration facility will reduce GHG emissions by roughly 2.5 megatonnes per year, equivalent to taking 550,000 cars off the road annually (Suncor)

#9 - Suncor will also prevent roughly 0.4 megatonnes per year of GHG emissions at its newly sanctioned Forty Mile Wind Power Project, equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off the road each year (Suncor)

#10 - Suncor has invested $830 million into new clean tech and innovation that will further reduce GHG emissions intensity and lower downstream emissions, for example (Suncor)

#11 - Between 2014-2018, CNRL reduced its corporate GHG emissions by 20%, equivalent to removing about 990,000 cars from the road (CNRL)

#12 - Between 2014-2018, CNRL saw a 72% reduction in venting emissions in Alberta at primary heavy oil operations, equivalent to removing about 420,000 cars from the road (CNRL)

Canada has world-class GHG regulatory systems

#13 - Between 2014-2018, CNRL conserved 16.8 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent from being released into the atmosphere as a result of its solution gas conservation projects – the same as removing about 3.6 million cars from the road (CNRL)

#14 - Between 2010-2018, CNRL reclaimed 8,193 hectares of land in North American exploration and production areas, equivalent to the size of about 10,000 Canadian football fields (CNRL)

#15 - In 2018, CNRL accomplished the goal of planting 1 million reclamation trees at its Horizon oil sands mine (CNRL)

#16 - Between 2017-2018, CNRL reduced its water use intensity at oil sands mining operations by 30% (CNRL)

#17 - Between 2013-2018 MEG Energy has reduced its GHG emissions intensity by 9%, and in 2018 was already more than 20% below the oil sands in situ average (MEG)

#18 - In 2018, MEG recycled over 90% of the water recovered from reservoir operations to produce steam for use in situ (MEG)

#19 - Prior to 2019, MEG completed more than 5,000 hectares of restoration in high quality caribou habitat (MEG)

#20 - Since Syncrude began oil sands reclamation operations, it has planted more than 11 million trees and shrubs (Syncrude)

#21 - Between 2012-2019, Husky reclaimed approximately 9,600 acres of land (Husky)

#22 - In 2019, Husky planted more than 542,000 trees on 247 different sites (Husky)

#23 - Between 2012-2017, COSIA members – who account for 90% of Canada’s oil sands production, which accounts for roughly 64% of Canada’s total oil production (2018) – reduced GHG emissions intensity by 11% at in situ operations and 9% at mining operations (COSIA)

#24 - Between 2012-2017, COSIA members reduced fresh water use intensity at in situ oil operations by 42% and saw a net reduction of 18% in water use intensity from the Athabasca river at mining operations (COSIA)

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