Reducing GHG Emissions
Our strategy for managing GHG emissions includes efficiency initiatives, natural gas conservation, and carbon capture and storage projects, as well as research. Our GHG emission intensity in our North American Exploration and Production operations was 6% lower in 2011 than in 2010, primarily due to reduced venting in our heavy oil projects. This reduction was a result of focused efforts to conserve natural gas in our areas of increased oil production, to use as fuel on-site or for sale.
Our award-winning Septimus Electrification project avoided 31,542 tonnes of CO2e and 77 tonnes of NOx emissions in the first year. Read more about our Responsible Canadian Energy Award-Winning Project.
The Algal Carbon Conversion Project (The Algae Project)
At Canadian Natural we believe in innovative partnerships that leverage technology to reduce our environmental footprint. The Algal Carbon Conversion Project is an excellent example. We have partnered with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Pond Biofuels Inc. to turn algae and carbon dioxide emissions into fuel that could be used for jet planes. At Canadian Natural, we call this “the Algae Project”. Technologies will be leveraged in innovative ways that will not only reduce CO2 emissions but also create value added products while delivering significant environmental benefits.
Learn more about the project here:
Natural Gas Conservation
In 2011, we completed 170 solution gas conservation projects in our primary heavy crude oil operations in Lloydminster and Bonnyville areas, resulting in a reduction of 2.3 million tonnes/year of CO2 emissions. Solution gas is the natural gas that is extracted together with oil production and captured separately. The volume of natural gas conserved in 2011 is enough to heat 68,000 average Canadian Households for a year.
Over the past five years, Canadian Natural has spent over $55 million in its primary heavy crude oil and in situ oil sands operations to conserve over 9.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.
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.
Our operations incorporate advancements in technology to further reduce GHG emissions. At our Horizon Oil Sands and Primrose operations we use cogeneration - the simultaneous production of electricity and heat energy 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.
Leading The Way in Carbon Capture And Storage
Canadian Natural is breaking new ground with creative ways to reduce greenhouse gases and minimize its tailings pond footprint. At Horizon Oil Sands, we are testing a process which will take waste CO2 from the hydrogen plant and sequester it in tailings. This process allows for increased water recycling and can therefore reduce the amount of fresh water required for bitumen processing. Learn more about our tailings management technologies.
Also at our Enchant operations in southeast Alberta we have a Carbon Capture and Storage project in place. The CO2 is used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to increase the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from the field. The carbon dioxide is naturally occurring in the reservoir area and, once captured, it is used to allow access to an additional two million barrels of oil that would otherwise have been left in the reservoir.
Edson GHG reduction project: Instrument Gas Conversion to Instrument Air Conversion
In the Edson area we are reducing emissions by replacing the natural gas used to run the instruments with compressed air. This project was implemented in 2011 and during 2012 we will monitor use of air to determine how much CO2 was avoided. The next step will be to look at additional sites where we can employ the same methodology.
More information on our Green House Gas emissions management is available on our Annual Information Form and on our 2011 Stewardship Report to Stakeholders.