Preserving Ecological Integrity

Corporate Responsibility

Preserving Ecological Integrity

The Great Sand Hills, located in southwestern Saskatchewan, covers an area of 1,900 square kilometers of intact native prairie grassland. The region contains the largest set of active sand dunes in Canada. It provides habitat to several rare plant and animal species and is sensitive to outside influences.
 
Canadian Natural is one of the largest oil and natural gas producers in the area, with 729 wells representing 68% of the oil and natural gas production. Due to its ecological significance, it is imperative to have in place a sound environmental protection plan to ensure the integrity of the region. We work closely with stakeholders and regulatory bodies to conserve the characteristics and unique features of the Great Sand Hills region while allowing well-managed oil and natural gas exploration and development. This environmental management program sets out guidelines for development on environmentally-sensitive land, including the use of minimal disturbance techniques, quantitative vegetation surveys, weed control, wildlife management and monitoring.
 
Working together with regulators plays an integral role in siting new locations for development while minimizing disturbance to the local environment. Wherever possible, we strive to reduce the ecological footprint with a winter only heavy equipment activity protocol and remote sensing technology to reduce well site visits.
 
A field header serves as a collection point where all our underground natural gas pipelines connect to the surface. Canadian Natural's development in the Great Sand Hills focuses on ensuring that the ecological integrity of the area is preserved by using minimal disturbance drilling, reducing the need for land reclamation.
 
Canadian Natural also operates in the Manitou Sand Hills in Saskatchewan, a smaller region than the Great Sands Hills, but with similar ecological values and sensitivities. We are part of the advisory committee with stakeholders, industry, local rural municipalities, Crown land lessees, Saskatchewan’s Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, and Tourism Saskatchewan and other interest groups. Annual meetings are held to discuss adherence to the land use plan — progress, concerns, accomplishments and next steps are discussed among stakeholders.