2012 RCE Award Winners

The RCE Awards are presented for oil and gas industry achievements demonstrating environmental, social, health and safety leadership.

President's Award: Canadian Natural Resources Limited
The Septimus Electrification project and the Horizon oil sands wildlife management system

Horizon oil sands wildlife management system:

Since 2009, Horizon Oil Sands has operated a leading edge bird deterrent program to avoid bird mortalities related to the Horizon External Tailings Facility (ETF).

The Merlin Detect and Deter system was deployed at the Horizon ETF. It employs technology that was originally developed for bird-aircraft strike prevention. Radar-controlled Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) and lasers prevent bird landings at night and in poor visibility conditions. The Merlin Detect and Deter system demonstrated 97.5 per cent effectiveness in responding to birds approaching the ETF.

Wildlife access is restricted to the ETF through the removal of habitat, the installation of a fence around the perimeter of the ETF, increased wildlife monitoring in the area and removal of wildlife. The system employed at Horizon has proven to be very effective, with zero bird mortalities occurring in 2010 and 2011.

Septimus Electrification:

Canadian Natural Resources Limited commissioned the Septimus Gas Processing Plant in Q4 2010. Working with BC Hydro, the company installed a high voltage transmission line to the site to run the plant's compressor motors. The compressors are equipped with variable frequency drives to further reduce energy usage by allowing them to run at less than full speed when appropriate.

This project reduces emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) within the project boundary by using grid electricity to drive the electric compressor motors as a substitute for natural gas-driven engines.

As well, Canadian Natural installed LED yard lights for economic and environmental benefit. Due to the electrification of the Septimus plant, the equivalent of 31,542 tonnes of CO2 and 77 tonnes of NOx emissions were avoided in the first year of operation.

Chair's Award: Quicksilver Resources Canada
Timber utilization in northeastern British Columbia

While Quicksilver's timber utilization initiatives have been evolving over the past several years, at year-end 2011 Quicksilver, its stakeholders and First Nations in the Fort Nelson, Fort Liard and surrounding areas of northeastern British Columbia have forged relationships that now include business commitments, educational support, and environmental recycling and protection.

Supporting these relationships with timber recycling initiatives that make sense to the people involved, Quicksilver's ongoing commitments to listen and dialogue with these stakeholders help ensure these initiatives are kept relevant and meaningful.

Initiatives have included projects for rig-matting, pipeline construction materials for trench filling/compaction, local-area cabin building and repairs, and wood working classes at a local school program sponsored by Quicksilver.

Stakeholders engaged thus far have included Trans North Timber, Acho Dene Koe First Nation, Fort Nelson Forestry Roundtable and the Echo Dene School. In total, these stakeholders represent literally hundreds of individuals and community members.

Environmental Performance Award: Statoil Canada
Scat dogs

Statoil has undertaken research to develop unique monitoring which can guide resource management and mitigate wildlife impacts. Natural disturbances and increased land use can exert stress on local caribou populations. Caribou numbers in Alberta's oil sands are believed to have declined during the past decade. In an effort to learn, share and contribute toward an improved knowledge base relating to stress on wildlife populations, Statoil executed a scat detection program using dogs to find and collect caribou, moose and wolf scat during three winters.

The samples were used to assess habitat attributes, such as vegetation, land form and land use, as well as diet, DNA-based measures of population abundance and hormone-based measures of psychological, reproductive and nutritional health. The scat program offers an innovative and non-intrusive method to effectively monitor the complex interactions between humans and wildlife, which showed that the primary negative impact on caribou herds in northeast Alberta was not predation by wolves, but rather, human activity.

Health and Safety Performance Award: Shell Canada and Suncor Energy
Scotford tri-partie safety leadership initiative and Energy Leading by Metrics

Scotford Tri-Partite Safety Leadership Initiative: is a non-traditional collaboration of leaders representing Shell staff, contractors and building trades who operate at Shell's Scotford site in Fort Saskatchewan. This collaborative program draws upon the experiences and expertise of each group to develop a strong safety culture for everyone working at Scotford. By meeting as a group and developing actions to progressively attain this ideal safety culture, the initiative works to improve workplace safety for employees and contractors working at Scotford.

The program is another way for Shell to strive toward reaching their Goal Zero safety objective. Leadership at all levels of operations play a crucial role in the development and implementation of necessary safety cultural change. The program has positively influenced the Scotford site and it has contributed to the overall reduction of recordable incidents at the site in 2011.

Energy Leading by Metrics: Define the required metrics of a safe industrial operation. Refer that question to any senior management executive and the most likely response may provide reference to recordable incident frequency – a highly utilized lagging metric within the safety profession. Lost-time injury and severity rates may also be acknowledged. This is the struggle for safety professionals. The success of the operations they support is most often determined by these lagging metrics, and it reveals "how little they failed" over a 12 month period.

Industry needs to alter its focus to the measurement of proactive efforts implemented on the frontline, which in turn prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. In-situ Drilling, Completions and Logistics (DCL) within Suncor Energy began utilizing two leading metrics in 2009 to assist with the management of safe operations. The Leading Indicator Safety Index (LISI) provides a quantitative indicator on the completion of proactive safety efforts in relation to hours worked. The Leadership Safety Contacts Ratio (LSC®) provides a reference on the support and visibility that Suncor management provided to field operations during the completion of these safety efforts.

These two leading metrics have played an integral role within In-situ DCL's Contractor Safety Management success during the past three years.

Social Performance Award: Devon Canada
Conklin High School

With no high school in Conklin, Alberta, secondary school students need to be relocated, housed and educated in Fort McMurray, a two hour drive north. As a result of being removed from the family environment and associated support mechanisms, the majority of students struggled to realize success.

In response to this situation, Devon brought community partners together—the Northlands School Division, the Sunchild E-Learning Program (deliverers of an innovative, online teaching model), the Conklin local school board and the community leadership – and provided the financial, human resources and direct support needed to establish a high school in the community.

The Conklin School opened its doors in 2010 and accepted its first cohort of 11 students that September. A year-and-a-half later, the majority of the students are still with the program. Without the high school, there would not be any students pursuing their diploma, but today the community is poised to deliver its first-ever graduating class in 2015.

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