Since 2008, we have submitted over 1,000 reclamation certificates for approximately 1,860 hectares, and abandoned over 3,060 inactive wells, including 1,038 in 2011.
Canadian Natural submitted and received record numbers of reclamation certificates (356 and 299 respectively) in 2011, which represents on average a 30% improvement from the previous year. The lower number of certificates received reflects the delay (typically 6 months) in receiving certificates from the regulator.
In 2010, we abandoned the greatest number of wells of any operator in Western Canada. In 2011, Canadian Natural abandoned the greatest number of wells and received the greatest number of reclamation certificates of any operator in Western Canada, accounting for 39% of all wells abandoned and 24% of all reclamation certificates received in Western Canada.
At our Horizon operations we have reclaimed 226 hectares of land since 2008. We also reduce our footprint in the oil sands region through our Oil Sands Exploration (OSE) lease reclamation program, which is needed to evaluate the potential oil sands resource base on our leased lands. Through the OSE program we have certified 209 sites in 2011. Since 2009 we have submitted over 670 sites for reclamation closure for approximately 200 hectares.
An important step in our ongoing reclamation work at Horizon is our reforestation work and soil salvage programs. Topsoil and muskeg are salvaged and used either directly for reclamation or stockpiled to meet future reclamation or stockpiled to meet future reclamation needs. In 2011, we planted 250,000 spruce, pine and shrub seedlings. At Horizon Lake, we continue to monitor the progress of 92,000 white spruce seedlings planted in 2009, and an additional 10,000 shrubs of traditional significance planted in the summer of 2011. All seedling species used are native to the area and provide a number of benefits to the ecosystem. Some of them will eventually overhang the lake edge and aid fish habitat; others will serve as a food source for wildlife. The specially grown and planted shrubs will be harvested and used by our Aboriginal neighbours in the future.