Canadian Natural develops every project with a vision and plan to ensure the landscape is returned to a healthy ecosystem once our activities are complete. We are an industry leader amongst peers for the number of reclamation certificates received each year, and we continue to advance and look into different ways to complete reclamation work through continuous improvement.
Bio-remediation for soil treatment
Canadian Natural is working on potential solution for reclamation projects, using a microorganism treatment process that employs purified bacteria capable of mineralizing petroleum hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. This enhanced bio-treatment process allows for treatment of hydrocarbon affected soil without excavation (in situ) or following excavation (ex situ); often with only one application, removing the need for further soil aeration.
Bio-remediation was used at two remote locations within the Nipisi light oil waterflood field. The treated soil was piled on-site and left alone while the microbes effectively bio-degrade the hydrocarbons in the soil. Once the treatment piles are sampled to determine if guideline criteria limits have been met for hydrocarbon levels, the soil will be backfilled into the original excavations. The sites will then be contoured and final reclamation closure will be completed.
Microorganism soil remediation provides an environmentally friendly solution as the soil is not taking up space in a landfill. Additionally, on site bio-treatment mitigates the safety risks associated with having numerous trucks on the road hauling materials long distances for landfill disposal. Plus, the treated soil can be used for backfill once treated. The potential to use this treatment application across our operations builds in considerable value for Canadian Natural and the environment.
Impacted material being fed through the mixing trailer that incorporates the microbes into the soil.
Peat Land Research
Canadian Natural is also conducting research on peat land reclamation with the goal of improving reclamation of sites in this ecosystem. Muskeg can be difficult to restore to its original condition. These trials will allow us to measure the effectiveness of peat land reclamation on multi-well pads located in muskeg areas to match the surroundings. The peat land ecosystem is home to a diversity of flora and fauna and some of the vegetation can naturally capture CO2 out of the atmosphere.