At approximately 10 a.m. on Monday, January 7, 2013 there was a leak at Cenovus's Foster Creek oil sands plant, located about 330 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. The leak occurred in a pressurized pipe within the primary oil treatment area of the plant, releasing a mixture of oil and water across an area approximately 30 metres by 160 metres. Within minutes we began shutting down the flow to the plant to relieve pressure on the pipe. It's estimated that about 100 cubic metres of the oil and water mixture were released. The mixture was approximately 70 percent water and 30 percent oil. No one was injured and the leak was completely contained within a small area of Cenovus's property. At no time was there any risk to the general public. The plant was restarted later the same day.

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) were notified immediately. The ERCB was on site and approved our clean-up plan. We take responsibility for the incident and have investigated the cause to prevent similar incidents in the future.


  • - 90 percent of the oil and water mixture was cleaned up within three days of the leak

  • - By January 30, the clean-up was 95 percent complete

  • - We determined the leak was caused by extreme cold that led the pipe to freeze and split open

  • - We’ve replaced the damaged section of pipe, installed additional insulation in the area and increased the temperature settings on the pipe’s heat tracing system, which is designed to keep it from freezing

  • - The remaining five percent of the oil and water mixture is on our equipment and will be removed in the spring when warmer temperatures will make the clean-up easier

Foster Creek oil and water leak on January 7, 2013 Foster Creek oil and water leak on January 10, 2013 This photo taken January 30 shows that about 95 percent of the clean-up is now complete. The oil and water mixture remaining from the spill is only on our equipment. Due to cold winter weather, we will wait until spring to finish the clean-up.
On January 7, 2013 an approximately 30 metre by 160 metre area inside our Foster Creek plant was affected by an oil and water mixture leak. By January 10, the oil and water mixture that leaked onto this service road at the plant had been removed and the clean-up was about 90 percent complete. The leak was fully contained within the plant site. This photo taken January 30 shows that about 95 percent of the clean-up is now complete. The remaining five percent of the oil and water mixture is on our equipment and will be removed in the spring when warmer temperatures will make the clean-up easier.

Foster Creek

Foster Creek

Foster Creek is one of our two industry-leading oil sands projects. It's our largest project, considered among the best commercial and technical steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects in the industry. It's situated on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, about 330 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. We started a pilot project at Foster Creek in 1996 and commercial production began in 2001. The oil at Foster Creek is located about 450 metres below the surface and requires specialized technology, like SAGD, to drill and pump it to the surface. This project is 50 percent owned by ConocoPhillips.

Our growth plans

We currently have six phases (A-F) producing at Foster Creek and construction is well underway on phase G. We’re anticipating first oil from phase G in early 2016. Due to the significant decrease in crude oil prices, construction work on phase H has been deferred. In the fourth quarter of 2014, we received regulatory approval for phase J, which could add approximately 50,000 barrels per day of gross production capacity. Ultimately, we expect Foster Creek may have the capacity to produce about 300,000 gross barrels per day with future optimization.

Did you know?

In 2010 Foster Creek achieved a significant milestone in becoming the largest commercial SAGD project in Alberta to reach royalty payout status. For a project to reach payout its cumulative revenues exceed cumulative allowable costs. It's a sign of success.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Cenovus presents production volumes on a net to Cenovus before royalties basis, unless otherwise stated.

Making the impossible possible

Innovation is part of culture at Cenovus and our achievements are a direct result of the energy of our people. We take pride in turning new ideas into opportunities. See how making the impossible possible is what makes the future look bright at Cenovus.

(Time - 1:55)

Our Cenovus

Everyone at Cenovus, no matter where they work, contributes to executing our strategy and reaching our goals. After all, it’s our Cenovus.

(Time - 2:50)

Rigorous. Respectful. Ready.

As a company we've made a commitment to be rigorous, respectful and ready in all that we do.

(Time - 0:19)

The Student Experience

Our students receive real-world experience and mentorship, find out what they have to say about working here.

(Time - 3:58)

Challenging the status quo

Harbir Chhina, our Executive Vice-President in charge of our oil sands operations, talks about how we’re always looking to improve how we develop the oil sands.

(Time – 2:12)

Find out more about our environmental practices.

Our Wedge Well™ technology

Technology is the key to reducing our environmental footprint. We're dedicated to finding ways to apply new ideas and new approaches to our operations. Learn about the innovative Wedge Well™ technology we're using to improve our recovery rates and reduce our impact on the environment.

(Time – 1:48)

Find out more about how our technologies work together.

Why I work safely

Our employees and contractors talk about the importance of working safely at Cenovus.

(Time – 1:27)

Find out more about our Safety commitments.

How we get oil out of the ground in the oil sands

We’d like to introduce you to a different kind of oil sands – that uses drilling to access the oil. Watch this animation to learn how we drill and then use steam to separate oil from sand that’s deep underground. It’s called steam-assisted gravity drainage, or SAGD.

(Time – 2:36)

Find out more about SAGD and the technologies that enhance it.

Keeping a watchful eye on wildlife

A remote camera program at our Christina Lake and Foster Creek operations helps us monitor how wildlife interacts with our above-ground pipelines. This time-lapse video showcases a selection of images captured over the course of a year and a half. The photos help to confirm what animals are in the area, observe whether their behavior is healthy, how they interact with our facilities and whether our operations have any impact on things like migration pathways. This helps us make improvements in our operating areas and limit our impact as much as possible. Find out more.

(Time – 1:36)

Get to know us

Think you know the type of person who works at an oil company? You might be surprised. We have stories. We’re passionate about things. We’re real people. We’re also proud of what we do and how we do it. Why? Because oil plays a big role in the energy mix.

(Time – 3:57)

A flying rig

Picture a drilling rig. Now, picture a flying rig. Sound hard to believe? It's a Cenovus oil sands innovation that allows us to fly a drilling rig into a remote location one piece at a time. And since everything is flown in, no roads are needed.

(Time – 1:15)

Oil sands: separating fact from fiction

With all the information out there about the oil sands, it’s hard to know what’s fact and what’s fiction. What are some of the common myths our staff often hear about the oil sands? Get the facts straight from them.

We’ve also created a website, which compiles information from a number of sources to give you the scoop on energy and on oil.

(Time – 2:38)

Take a tour of our camps

If you’re thinking of applying for a field-based position with Cenovus in northern Alberta, this video will give you an idea of what the accommodations are like.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • The rooms are clean, private and comfortable
  • There are lots of food options – from fresh produce and lean protein to comfort food and treats
  • Outside of work, there’s lots to do: work out, play team sports, watch a movie, read a book, and much more
  • It’s safe and secure – our security teams help enforce our zero-tolerance policies

Visit the Careers page to learn more about working for us.

(Time – 2:30)

Start Safe

See how cenovus is committed to working safely, every day.

(Time – 4:48)

Find out more about our Safety commitments.

Restoring caribou habitat in northern Alberta

We’re testing a number of treatments — mounding the ground, planting coniferous trees, adding woody debris and leaning tree stems into the pathways — with the goal of restoring the forest structure and giving young trees a chance to grow more quickly, while making the seismic lines less attractive as travel corridors as regrowth is taking place. Cenovus is measuring and monitoring the results of the pilot phase of the project and sharing what we learn with others through Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).

(Time – 3:08)

Find out more more.