In North America Exploration and Production we have water recycling and brackish water use programs in place. At Primrose and Wolf Lake (PAW) in situ oil sands, we recycle more than 98 per cent of the produced water. Our ongoing reduction of fresh water use is being accomplished through a long-term brackish (saline) water source development plan, including associated brackish wells, field and plant infrastructures. Efforts to improve fresh water use efficiency at PAW have resulted in a 40 per cent decrease of fresh water use per barrel of bitumen production since 2007.
We also treat and use brackish water at our Brintnell project in the Pelican Lake area, where we have pioneered polymer flooding for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In 2011, we completed substantial improvements to recycled water handling. As a result of this work, the recycle rate is currently 90 per cent and we expect to maintain this rate for polymer production through 2012. All future polymer flood development is being designed and planned for saline water usage. Alternate sources of saline water supply are currently being evaluated.
Our Horizon Oil Sands operation is designed to recycle over 80 per cent of the water used in bitumen extraction so that it can be reused in our processes. Water withdrawals from the Athabasca River continue to be far less than our authorized withdrawal limit. We also keep water supply storage on site that allows us to maintain production in the event of low water flow periods in the Athabasca River, during which withdrawals from the river may be restricted.
Canadian Natural’s Septimus unconventional natural gas project in northeast British Columbia is also designed to conserve fresh water. We source brackish water from deep wells for hydraulic fracturing. Also, the produced water is further treated and reused to frac subsequent wells. Learn more about our award-winning Septimus Electrification Project.
We do not use any fresh water for waterflooding in our SE Saskatchewan and Manitoba operations.
This international standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Our international operations have developed stringent operating standards in the following areas:
- exercising care with respect to all waste produced through effective waste management plans;
- using water-based, environmentally friendly drilling muds whenever possible; and
- minimizing produced water volumes offshore through cost-effective measures.