Emergency Management

Corporate Responsibility

Emergency Management

Our approach

At Canadian Natural, safety is a core value that underlies all our activities to reach our ultimate goal of ‘No harm to people; No safety incidents’. We are dedicated to operating in a proactive and safe manner to manage the potential risks associated with oil and natural gas operations. To do this, we focus on proactive risk management, from risk identification and mitigation to response across all our operations in Canada and offshore UK and Africa.

Our integrated management systems help us evaluate and prevent the risk of incidents, such as spills or leaks, from occurring. To mitigate any impacts, incidents that may occur are quickly managed in accordance with our structured emergency management and spill preparedness programs.

A comprehensive corporate Emergency Management program is in place to ensure that we are properly prepared for the safe and well-coordinated response to potential accidents and incidents. This program includes an Incident Command System, detailed emergency response procedures, and the resources and training needed for reliable and effective emergency response. Another key component of this program is our Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) to ensure immediate initial response and efficient management of the situation until it has been resolved or until other resources can be mobilized to the site.

As with every Management System in our company, our Emergency Management program is subject to continuous improvement, which reinforces our Safety Management System (SMS) programming and our commitment to the safety of our people and the public, as well as the protection of the environment. In addition to maintaining our detailed ERP system, training is an important element of preparedness. We provide ongoing emergency response training that includes participation of Health and Safety, Production and Development Operations’ personnel, regulatory bodies and partners, to maintain an effective state of readiness for emergencies at all operating sites. For more details on our emergency response preparedness and training exercises read our Spill Preparedness and Emergency Response section.

Canadian Natural’s corporate emergency management program, including Emergency Response Plans, meets the regulatory requirements in each jurisdiction where we operate, including the:

  • Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)
  • British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC)
  • Emergency Measures Organization Manitoba
  • National Standards of Canada
  • National Energy Board (NEB)
  • Office of the Regulator of Oil and Gas Operations, NWT
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy

For details on our offshore emergency response and protocols, read the Spill Preparedness and Emergency Response section.

Emergency Procedure Manuals

Our Corporate ERP is a guide for Canadian Natural personnel to direct and coordinate their responses in the event of an incident. It includes broader information such as company response procedures, our Incident Command System, forms and guidelines, response roles and responsibilities and general contact information. Canadian Natural’s Corporate ERP can be accessed here.

Facility specific ERPs have been prepared for certain operating plants and batteries and these plans work in conjunction with the Corporate ERP. As per the National Energy Board (NEB Order MO-006-2016), the site specific plans for the following facilities can be accessed below. Portions of the documents are not available where there is personal information or information that can affect the security of the assets. Canadian Natural Resources Limited assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in these documents or for direct, incidental or consequential losses or damages that may result from the external use or duplication of this material.

Our Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) are reviewed and updated annually at a minimum to keep them current.

Emergency Management Program Summary

Designed to provide a continuous cycle of improvement, our Emergency Management Program is an extensive set of policies, procedures and processes. The following is a summary of its key components:

1. Policy and commitment
2. Goals and objectives

To achieve Canadian Natural’s ultimate goal: ‘No harm to people and no safety incidents’, our Emergency Management Program has four specific goals, each one supported by specific activities:

  • Prevention
  • Preparedness
    • We engage and regularly consult with all stakeholders that are in proximity to operations associated with facility specific Emergency Response Plans (ERPs), including members of the public, local governments, First Responders and health authorities, in order to identify and make available critical information such as potential hazards, emergency response procedures, contact information and roles and responsibilities.
    • Internally, we maintain and regularly review our ERPs, conduct emergency response training sessions and exercises for all key personnel and parties involved, and maintain an extensive in-house inventory of spill response supplies and equipment strategically located at key locations for immediate response, until other resources can be mobilized to the site.
  • Response
    • We observe ERP activation requirements to ensure that all the necessary and appropriate actions are taken to resolve emergency situations, protect the public and workers and mitigate damage to the environment and property. This includes working in partnership with other stakeholders.
  • Recovery
    • Includes incident investigation, implementation of any necessary remediation, and sharing learnings within the company and industry as appropriate.

To effectively prevent and mitigate releases, Canadian Natural’s Emergency Management is an integrated program with a cross-section of management systems from Health and Safety, Asset Integrity, Security, Environment and Operations. Our teams work closely to ensure that if a leak or spill occurs, the consequence is minimized through our ERPs and spill preparedness programs.

3. Incident Management System

An incident management system is a standardized approach to emergency management that includes personnel, facilities, equipment, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure. Canadian Natural uses an Incident Command System (ICS) based on the standards set forth by ICS Canada. ICS provides a common hierarchy and an integrated organizational structure for all aspects of the response to enable effective and efficient incident management. The system brings together the functions of our company with federal and provincial governments, as well as local authorities and governments.

Key elements of any ICS include: organizational collaboration, flexible organization, integrated communications, consolidated incident action planning, unity of command and designated incident facilities.

4. Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Controls

At Canadian Natural, we focus on proactive risk management, from risk identification, assessment and monitoring, to mitigation and control across all our operations. Our integrated Emergency Management system has multiple safeguards in place to prevent spills, releases or other potential hazards from occurring.

We have systems in place which extend to a broad range of potential hazardous situations: from operational and process safety incidents (high vapour pressure pipeline releases, spills, fire and explosions, on-site chemicals or fuels) to severe weather and natural disasters (forest fires, floods, earthquakes, lightning strikes and landslides), emergencies (highway/railway, environment, aircraft transportation, or pandemics), communications failures, power outages and security breaches.

Our risk analysis process is supported by a dispersion modeling software and an internationally recognized process hazard analysis software tool. These are used to predetermine emergency planning zones (EPZs) — areas surrounding facilities that require specific emergency response planning as mandated by applicable regulatory guidelines. EPZs are plotted on our site specific ERP maps to provide a visual image of the risk areas in relation to structures, roadways and geographical elements such as waterways or bodies. These areas are used to identify stakeholders who may be at the greatest risk and require consultation to ensure their awareness of the possible hazards and risks associated with our facilities/pipelines. Once the risk level of the hazard has been determined, emergency response preparedness controls are put in place to mitigate and address the potential consequences. These controls can include, but are not limited to, emergency equipment, clean-up resources, safety guidelines and mutual aid understandings. We periodically perform internal ERP audits, reviews and updates to ensure our emergency response information is compliant with regulatory requirements.

Canadian Natural’s monitoring and control systems are installed throughout our gathering system, including leak detection systems, emergency shut-down devices and other remote data monitoring systems. In the unlikely event of a spill, we have an extensive in-house inventory of spill response supplies and equipment strategically located at key locations for accessibility. For more information on these spill response arrangements, read the Spill Preparedness and Emergency Response section.

5. Stakeholder Liaison to Prepare for Emergencies

To ensure efficient communication and coordination during an emergency, we proactively conduct annual consultations with key stakeholders impacted by our operations — local municipalities, urban centers, health authorities and other first responders — in order to:

  • Confirm and collect key contact information;
  • Identify and clarify roles and responsibilities;
  • Inform the agency of Canadian Natural practices and procedures, potential hazards and risk controls and mitigation; and
  • Explore possible mutual aid options.

Our annual consultations are generally conducted by telephone, electronically or one-on-one meetings. Information collected during this process is incorporated into our Emergency Response Plans along with required provincial and federal authority Incident Reporting information.

To learn more about our work with stakeholders and what to do in case of an emergency, please read our Public Safety information section.

6. Continuing Education

Canadian Natural maintains ongoing communication with local disaster services and health authorities, other organizations and agencies, as well as the public living near our operations. The information we share includes the location of our operations, potential hazards, potential emergency situations involving a pipeline, and safety procedures in the case of an emergency. In addition to our Public Information Package, which provides guidance on what to do in an emergency and who to contact, our Government Agency Consultation Forms also provide safety procedures and information. These forms include scene arrival protocols, chemical hazards and liaison guidelines, and they also serve to collect emergency contact information. All documents are provided every year to the communities, and more frequently if required during changes in operations, such as new facilities or an acquisition.

Our Safety Management System adds to our focus on continuous education of safety procedures by mandating the use of hazard assessments and safety orientations for all persons attending Canadian Natural sites, including those attending as a result of an emergency. When appropriate, we also conduct public meetings and targeted information sessions to ensure stakeholders are aware of our operations and emergency management policies.

7. Training and exercises

In addition to a continuing education program, Canadian Natural maintains a rigorous emergency response training and exercise schedule for our employees and contractors to maintain an effective state of readiness for emergencies at all operating sites. Training and exercises are mandatory for all levels in the company, from field operations to senior management, and exercises involve the participation of Health and Safety, Production and Development Operations personnel. Exercises are held at minimum on an annual basis and may consist of presentations or mock simulations.

To ensure a coordinated response to any emergency, local municipalities/urban centers, health region authorities, RCMP and/or local police and applicable regulatory agencies (e.g. NEB, AER, BC OGC) are invited to attend and participate in our major exercises.

Our training methods consist of ‘hands-on’ training, including lectures, coaching, discussions, simulations and role playing.

Emergency management training at Canadian Natural takes place both in Calgary and field locations. It includes many elements as identified in our corporate ERP including, but not limited to:

  • Our Incident Command System;
  • Emergency response roles and responsibilities;
  • Emergency response tools including the “10 Steps for Emergency Response”, First Responder’s Guide, Emergency Response Guide, Incident Command Flowchart, Emergency Notification Details chart, Emergency Time Action Logs, and many more;
  • Where to find forms, scripts and specific guidelines;
  • Where to find stakeholder contact information.

For more information on our exercises, read our Spill Preparedness and Emergency Response section.