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 manage and minimize the environmental impact of our projects on the land, progressively reclaim our footprint and work with stakeholders to ensure their present and future needs are met.
Our activities include abandonment and reclamation of inactive wells, decommissioning of inactive facilities, and the remediation of sites at operating facilitiesOur environmental planning prioritizes and coordinates our programs in order to enhance our ability to reclaim large contiguous areas. This approach has proven to be an effective way of managing our work. Through the alignment of our well and pipeline decommissioning and reclamation programs, in 2014 we abandoned (cleaned, plugged and properly sealed) 545 inactive wells and submitted 337 reclamation certificates in our North America Exploration and Production representing more than 760 hectares (ha) of land. At Horizon, 30 ha were reclaimed during 2014, for a total of 263 ha since 2009, when operations began.
Managing our Footprint
Canadian Natural works to minimize its footprint through effective planning, design and use of technology managing our footprint by implementing minimal disturbance drilling techniques. Our practices include reducing the overall number of drill sites required by designing highly efficient sites with multiple wells on a single pad, designing each well pad area to be as small as possible, and by re-using former sites to avoid additional vegetation and topsoil removal. Rather than waiting until all our production and operational activities are complete, disturbed land not being used is progressively reclaimed. We also manage our environmental footprint at our Horizon Oil Sands operations through tailings management technologies that will accelerate the pace of reclamation and by developing the first oil sands compensation lake, Horizon Lake which supports twice the fisheries habitat that will be lost during the life of our mining operation.