Climate change

Climate change

We share the public’s concern that climate change is one of the greatest global challenges of our times. As an oil producer, we’re committed to doing our part to address climate change. This means finding solutions that will eliminate emissions both from the production of oil and from its use. Solutions that will ensure oil can continue to play a role in enhancing the quality of life around the world for as long as it’s needed.

We continue to work on innovative ways to be competitive on both a cost and carbon basis. With the right level of commitment and collaboration with the brightest minds from around the world, oil can be part of the clean energy future we all desire.

Our actions on climate change:

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity

Since 2004, we’ve reduced our oil sands GHG per-barrel emissions by one-third. And we’ve set a target to reduce our total upstream GHG emissions intensity by another one-third between January 2016 and the end of 2026.

We're doing this by:

  • Maintaining a low steam to oil ratio (SOR) in our oil sands assets
  • Operating two natural gas-burning cogeneration plants to create all the electricity needed for our operations. We then sell the excess electricity to the Alberta electrical grid. Cogeneration electricity creates fewer emissions than coal-fired power and thus reduces the overall greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
  • Planning to integrate more solvents into our operations. Solvents reduce upstream GHG emissions intensity by enabling us to use less steam. Solvents-aided bitumen extraction can reduce the GHG emissions intensity of production up to 30 percent.
  • Focusing on innovation and technology development to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions across our operations 
Reducing methane gas emissions intensity
  • We’re using our extensive natural gas infrastructure in southern Alberta to collect and process natural gas that’s produced with our oil, which we’re then able to sell
  • We use compressed air rather than natural gas at our oil sands facilities and most of our conventional facilities to operate equipment. Using compressed air eliminates the methane emissions that would occur from using natural gas.
  • Where possible we use electric motor drive pumps, instead of pumps that use natural gas for fuel
  • We’ve installed solar panels at some of our oil and natural gas sites to power equipment like chemical pumps
  • Buildings at our production facilities are equipped with continuous gas monitoring instruments that activate alarms, or shutdown operations if gas leaks are detected
  • We’ve implemented a company-wide leak detection and repair program which has provided us with more than five years of data to help improve the way we manage emissions
  • We ensure that our gas well completion process is designed to reduce emissions and conserve gas as much as possible, in compliance with Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating and Venting. When gas must be flared, the regulations restrict the duration of flaring as well as the volume of gas that may be flared.
Working with others
  • We worked with oil sands producers and leading environmental organizations to better understand each other’s views and recommend solutions for the oil and natural gas industry that helped inform the Government of Alberta’s climate plan that was announced in 2015.
  • We’re engaging with and supporting government, industry leaders and academics to advance GHG emissions regulations that enable a robust Alberta economy, investment in technology to lower emissions, and create the conditions for improved environmental performance.
  • We’re collaborating with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to find solutions to improve environmental performance by focusing on areas such as water, land and GHG emissions. COSIA’s GHG environmental priority area is investigating ways to reduce energy use and associated GHG emissions through the development of innovative technologies for oil sands.
  • We’re in the early stages of working with others to find solutions to eliminate emissions not only from the production of oil but also from its end use to ensure oil is part of a clean energy future.
Investing in technology companies
  • We’re working with companies that are developing technologies aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of producing and consuming energy
  • Companies we’ve invested in include General Fusion, which is developing fusion technology using hydrogen atoms found in water and Saltworks Technologies, which has developed a suite of energy efficient ways to convert salt water into fresh water through desalination.
Participating in ground-breaking carbon capture and storage (CCS) field research
  • We’re providing the location for a CCS field research station near Brooks, Alberta. The research, led by Carbon Management Canada (CMC) Research Institutes and the University of Calgary, will focus on technology development for CCS in the energy industry as well as the monitoring and commercialization of CCS.
  • We’re continuing to support the study of carbon capture and storage through our enhanced oil recovery project at Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where we’ve safely injected 27 million tonnes of CO2 underground since 2000, the equivalent of taking more than 5.7 million cars off the road for an entire year
Being transparent about our GHG emissions

We’re continuing to annually report our GHG emissions and climate change data through our corporate responsibility report and to the CDP, where we have been recognized for climate disclosure leadership for seven years.

We do this to:

  • Provide increased transparency to investors, shareholders and the general public
  • Identify how we mitigate risks arising from climate change
  • Enhance our ability to increase efficiency and reduce costs
Supporting a price on carbon

We support a price on carbon – for the companies that produce oil as well as the consumers who use the product – and have since we launched as a company. We believe the funds from a price on carbon should be directed toward the development of new technologies that will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aspiring to zero emissions
  • Between 20 to 30 percent of the emissions from a barrel of oil come from producing it. The rest comes from the end use of that oil, primarily for transportation fuel. Our moon shot is to eliminate carbon emissions from the production through to the end use of oil, to create a product people want to use because it benefits them without contributing to climate change.
  • We can’t do this alone, so we’re working with others including academic, government, entrepreneurs and other companies within and outside our industry to find solutions that address the growing demand for energy while eliminating GHG emissions.