Environmental Planning and Monitoring

Corporate Responsibility

Environmental Planning and Monitoring

We incorporate environmental considerations and planning into all phases of our projects and work co-operatively and effectively with communities, government agencies and stakeholders to reduce the potential impacts of our operations.

Environmental planning begins with site assessments at the time of acquisition or prior to construction, and is continued through monitoring during our operations to final reclamation, to ensure that soil, vegetation and wildlife functions are returned to its natural habitat as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, our major projects require Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Pre-Disturbance Assessments (PDAs). EIAs are an important tool in our regulatory applications that support our growth and development plans by providing a thorough understanding of potential project-related impacts.

Environmental and socioeconomic impact assessments also highlight any regional risks to be addressed in project planning. This way, we can implement long-term management, monitoring and mitigation strategies to ensure our major projects meet environmental, social and economic commitments, which are developed in consultation with stakeholders. For example, we file integrated regulatory applications with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for the different phases of our thermal in situ oil sands projects, which include an EIA. Canadian Natural also documents traditional ecological knowledge that is shared by Indigenous communities and considers its use when compiling baseline environmental information, developing monitoring programs and planning mitigation (e.g., reclamation).

Regional frameworks and collaboration

The Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have established frameworks for the management of air, land and water. As part of our commitment to protect the environment, Canadian Natural has adopted those frameworks into our operating practices to implement comprehensive mitigation plans for sensitive landscapes, wildlife and aquatic systems. These environmental frameworks establish, for instance, limits on emissions to protect the air, restrictions on water use to protect water quality and water withdrawals, tailings reclamation timelines, increasing the amount of conserved land, etc. We also participate in research programs for land planning, caribou restoration and reclaimed land. For example, within Alberta, our activities adhere to the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) regional framework, a comprehensive plan that takes into account effects of all regional activities on air, water, land and biodiversity.

Environmental monitoring allows us to continually measure our performance, establish targets and work towards improvement. Canadian Natural supports environmental monitoring as a part of responsible resource development through openness, transparency and the generation of scientifically reliable data that addresses public/stakeholder concerns. Monitoring of air emissions, water use and land disturbance occurs at our larger facilities. We participate in local and regional air monitoring programs in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as federal monitoring programs, such as GHG emissions reporting programs that quantify and publicly report our performance.

We also support regional monitoring of the oil sands conducted by AEP, to assess the state of the environment and cumulative effects, to maintain ecological functions and restore areas as part of long-term reclamation planning. This includes elements related to air, land and water, all of which are important to stakeholders , including Indigenous communities. For example, Canadian Natural works closely with the Fort McKay First Nation, located near our oil sands mining operations, to improve monitoring on traditional land.

We work with government, industry, and other stakeholders to implement and advance environmental policy and initiatives involving air, land and water. As a member of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) we are involved in various regional multi-stakeholder groups.

Additionally, we are committed to accelerating the pace of environmental performance improvements in Canada’s oil sands and actively participate and share best practices with industry.