Environmental Management System

Corporate Responsibility

Environmental Management System

Canadian Natural's environmental practices are maintained through the Environmental Management System (EMS). This system supports continuous improvement by setting targets to measure, monitor and review our performance. Performance is tracked through a combination of measurement techniques and internal auditing.

Our EMS and operating guidelines focus on the management of environmental risk and continuous improvement while meeting regulatory requirements and corporate standards. Maintaining an effective EMS is key to identifying, minimizing and mitigating potential impacts on land, water and air.

Canadian Natural’s EMS is structured in accordance to guiding principles found within the Corporate Statement on Environmental Management. These Corporate Statements define the way in which we conduct our business, and are consistent with the requirements of the ISO 14001 Standard.

Marine Environment Protection

Canadian Natural Resources International (CNRI) has an integrated Safety, Health and Environmental Management System (SHEMS) in place. The SHEMS is based on the same principles as our North American operations. It is structured to meet stringent operating standards and local regulatory requirements, to ensure asset integrity and marine environment protection, such as:

  • exercising care with respect to all waste produced through effective waste management plans;
  • limiting environmental impact through use of water-based, drilling muds whenever possible; and
  • minimizing produced water volumes offshore through cost-effective measures.

Our International operations in the UK are ISO 14001:2004 certified. ISO 14001 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations (1) minimize how their operations and processes affect the environment (impacts to air, water, or land); (2) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and (3) continuous improvement in these areas. To strengthen environmental stewardship in support of the company’s guiding principles, we are working towards the ISO 14001:2015 implementation for our International operations.

Waste management

A comprehensive waste management approach is also part of our EMS to reduce impacts on the environment. Our corporate waste management plans focus on minimizing site-generated waste through process optimization and technological innovation, and reducing our footprint with programs designed to recycle, re-use and recover through segregation at the source.

Canadian Natural is one of the few producers with its own infrastructure for sand handling, water treatment and oil processing. At our heavy oil operations, for example, we have several processing plants, as well as sand, waste and water disposal facilities. By integrating our waste management facilities, and using our landfills (close to our Woodenhouse heavy oil operations and in our Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading), we not only reduce transportation distances but also improve management of our environmental liabilities and costs. Recycling rates at our Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading operations continue to increase, as a result of having our own waste facilities to manage and consolidate materials on site.

For waste management performance data, read our 2017 Stewardship Report to Stakeholders (page 27).

Risk and incident management

Canadian Natural’s management systems ensure we evaluate, prevent and mitigate the risk of incidents occurring. Response plans are developed to predict the extent and magnitude of all risks. Rare events, such as an equipment malfunction that results in an incident, are managed quickly in accordance to structured emergency response plans. These procedures help manage the event as systematically and thoroughly as possible to mitigate any additional impacts and facilitate the safe return to normal operations in a timely manner. Protocols identify the sequence of response actions to incidents such as the shutdown of the incident source, communication to government and public, and clean-up of any effects. For more details, read our Stewardship Report to Stakeholders section.

Our environmental risk management strategies employ an Environmental Management Plan that includes quarterly internal stewardship reports. These quarterly reports serve to monitor targets and performance results, such as GHG emissions, water use, land reclamation, etc., and are reviewed by our senior management and our Board of Directors. Performance results are reported externally, through regulatory reports and the Stewardship Report to Stakeholders. Read more about our Governance.