Protecting Air Quality

Corporate Responsibility

Protecting Air Quality

Canadian Natural’s integrated emissions reduction strategies comply with requirements for GHG emissions as well as air pollutants such as sulphur oxides (SOx) and oxides of nitrogen (NOX). We plan, design, build and operate all production facilities to achieve high standards of air quality. We implement environmental practices that ensure clean air and promote (1) improved emissions performance, (2) reduction of emissions, and (3) the monitoring and tracking of air quality.

Air quality programs are an essential part of our environmental work plan and are operated within regulatory standards and guidelines. We measure our air emissions by conducting specific monitoring at our larger facilities and by participating in regional airshed monitoring.

Our sulphur recovery units minimize emissions by managing the volume of production feed in relation to equipment capacity. Horizon’s sulphur recovery unit achieved over 99% recovery, well above regulatory requirements of 98.5%. We also utilize low-NOX burner technology that reduces emissions of NOX and CO2. Future Horizon expansion phases will incorporate additional technology to increase efficiencies and further reduce air emissions.

For Canadian Natural's SO2 and NOX emissions, please refer to the Performance section of our 2017 Stewardship Report to Stakeholders.

Monitoring Air Quality

We work with stakeholders near our operations to ensure the air quality is of a high standard. Within Canada, Canadian Natural participates in both local and regional monitoring programs. Site specific, real-time data collection allows us to minimize SO2 emissions at Horizon and Primrose and Wolf Lake operations through Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS).

Regionally, airshed monitoring programs assess the ambient air quality by also collecting real-time data and reporting their findings publicly. Alberta’s ambient air quality objectives and guidelines are developed under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA).

Substantial efforts are being undertaken to monitor air quality near industrial sources, in local communities and downwind of oil sands industrial activities. Air quality in the oil sands region is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year across the region.

Canadian Natural is an active participant in the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA), a collaboration of communities, environmental groups, industry, government and Indigenous stakeholders. WBEA manages programs that include air, land and human exposure monitoring. It operates the most extensive ambient air network in Alberta (with 17 air monitoring stations and 23 passive monitoring stations), monitors air quality in the region and reports continuous ambient air quality data in real time, on their website at

For more information, read our Environmental Planning and Monitoring section.