Canada’s oil sands industry is committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Our challenge as an industry is to reduce GHG output while addressing the growing demand and consumption of energy worldwide. In oil sands mining, energy is required to heat the water that transports the sands and breaks it down in order to separate the oil from the sands. Energy is also required to generate the steam that is used in drilling recovery methods. All of these steps produce and release GHG into the atmosphere- a contributing factor to climate change.

To address this problem, companies have invested more than $1.33 billion collectively through Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to develop new technologies to improve environmental performance. Work is in progress on a variety of exiting new technologies to lower GHG emissions and capture and store CO2.

Source: COSIA, 2017

Source: COSIA, 2017

Reliable, long-term environmental monitoring based on sound, science-based methods is in the best interest of both industry and the broader Canadian public. While oil sands companies are primarily responsible for the onsite monitoring of their operations, they are accountable to a number of organizations for regional monitoring and program design. This ensure a high industry standard is maintained and enforced across all operations. Approvals from numerous federal, provincial and joint approval regulatory agencies are required at every phase of development, from construction and operation to decommissioning and reclamation.

Some prominent monitoring groups include:

  • Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) manages programs that include air, land and human exposure monitoring and operates the most extensive ambient air network in Alberta that reports continuous ambient air quality data, in real time, directly to their website
  • The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) established new environmental frameworks to safeguard regional air and surface water quality and increase the amount of land set aside for conservation to more than two million hectares.
Source: CAPP Fact booklet, 2016

Source: CAPP Fact booklet, 2016