Canada’s Oil and Gas Sector and Our Great Outdoors
When we think of environmental leaders Canada’s oil and natural gas sector is not always the first industry to come to mind, but when compared to other industries Canada’s energy sector is the leader in terms of environmental spending, making up 44% of all money spent on environmental protection!
So, just how is our oil and gas sector working hard to ensure it can coexist with nature? The first way is the golden rule of conservation, that is to return any impacted area back to how you found it—also known as reclamation. Reclamation is applied to all disturbances, whether that is a single well head, or an oil sands mine.
Oil and gas environmental spending doesn’t stop with reclamation— it is an ongoing process throughout the lifetime of the project. One such example of this is methane regulations. Canada is a leader in tackling methane emissions with regulations that are among the best in the world. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has cited Canada’s methane strategy as a key method in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions saying, “There are many aspects of Canada’s new regulation that can be instructive for other countries and jurisdictions considering actions on methane abatement. Ensuring methane is dealt with means that oil and gas projects emit less GHG’s during their production and transportation.
Water conservation is also a critical aspect of the oil and gas industry because without water industry could not operate, and more importantly clean water is critical for Canadians who live downstream of production. In the oil sands most water used is recycled – around 80 percent for established mining operations and approximately 94 percent for in-situ operations, and less than 1% of the Athabasca river flow is used for oil production—and this is carefully monitored to ensure too much water is never used.
In conventional oil production hydraulic fracturing has seen robust improvements in water use, and methodology. Our rigorous regulations and reporting structure ensures that ground water and aquifers are protected. This safe, often misunderstood practice, actually reduces industry footprint as less drill pads are required to produce the oil and or natural gas.
From Oil Production to Bison Protection
One of the most impressive examples of our oil industry returning our lands to how they found it is Syncrude’s Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch. A former oil sands mining operation turned bison sanctuary is really a sight to behold. in the 25+ years since the land was returned to nature, the bison have grown from 30 members to over 300.
The World Should Want More Canadian Oil
Due to increased efficiencies and the introduction of new technologies, GHG intensity of Canadian oil sands projects fell about 20 per cent over the last decade, and that’s expected to drop an additional 23 per cent by 2030.
Ongoing environmental performance improvement has always been critical to maintaining a responsible, vibrant and competitive natural gas and oil sector in Canada.
World energy demand will continue to rise, fueled by a growing population and improved standards of living around the globe. Canadian energy can – and should – help fill that global energy demand.
So please, join us. Help us tell Canada’s oil and gas story, to inform those of our successes in conservation and enviromental excellence.