Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management
Canadian Natural’s strategy for managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is based on the principles of improving energy conservation and efficiency; reducing emission intensity; developing and adopting innovative technology and supporting associated research and development. We use a multi-disciplinary risk management process which considers climate change risks and opportunities as part of our evaluation of business risk and opportunities.
Internally, we pursue an integrated emissions reduction strategy to ensure compliance with existing and future emissions reduction requirements. Through the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), we work with Canadian governments as they develop and implement new GHG emissions laws and regulations.
We continue to pursue several GHG emission reduction initiatives such as:
- natural gas conservation;
- compressor optimization to improve fuel gas efficiency;
- CO2 capture and sequestration in oil sands tailings;
- CO2 capture and storage in association with enhanced oil recovery (EOR);
- cogeneration/heat integration; and
- sharing best practices through industry collaboration.
Natural Gas Conservation
Canadian Natural continues to implement flaring, venting, fuel and solution gas conservation programs. In 2014 we completed more than 800 natural gas conservation projects in our heavy crude oil operations, which translated into a reduction of 4.4 million tonnes/year of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2e). This represents an improvement in gas conservation of 33 per cent from 2013.
Over the last five years, we have invested more than $100 million in our heavy crude oil and thermal in situ operations to conserve the equivalent of 16.5 million tonnes of CO2e.This volume of natural gas conserved is equal to removing 696,000 typical passenger vehicles off the road over this time period.
We have implemented optimization programs and monitor the performance of our natural gas compressor fleet to improve fuel gas efficiency. In our offshore operations we continue to focus on flaring reduction programs. CNRI runs a fuel gas import project at our North Sea operations to reduce diesel consumption in addition to continued focus on our flare reduction program in both the North Sea and Offshore Africa operations.
The Septimus Natural Gas Processing Plant reduces emissions of CO2, methane and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by using hydroelectricity to drive the electric compressor motors. Since 2011, Septimus' first year of operation, we have reduced 170,775 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. This project was a recipient of the 2012 CAPP President’s Award for Responsible Energy.
Carbon Capture and Storage
Canadian Natural is breaking new ground with creative ways to reduce GHG emissions and minimize the tailings pond footprint. At Horizon Oil Sands, we are injecting CO2 into the tailings, to allow for increased water recycling. A CO2 capture facility currently under construction is expected to be operational by 2016. Read our tailings management section for more information on these technologies.
At our Enchant operations in southeast Alberta, we are capturing produced CO2 for use in our Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) operations to increase the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from the field. This process allows access to an additional two million barrels of oil that would otherwise have been left in the reservoir.
Our Horizon Oil Sands and our Primrose thermal in situ operations also incorporate cogeneration plants for heat integration — the recovery and reuse of waste heat to reduce GHG emissions. Through this process, we can simultaneously produce electricity and heat from a single fuel source as an efficient way to meet steam and electricity demands. By recycling the waste heat for reuse, we help reduce GHG emissions because our energy consumption is lower than it would be if we produced electricity and heat energy separately.