Canada's oil and gas industry takes on Responsible Canadian Energy

Contributed to The Financial Post
Janet Annesley
Vice President of Communications
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
February 27, 2012

Measuring and reporting industry's performance in the areas of people, air, water and land are critical steps in improving public understanding of Canada's oil and gas industry and how the industry works to track and improve our performance.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers' (CAPP) Responsible Canadian Energy program represents the collective goal of Canada's oil and gas industry to measure our performance and to document the innovative approaches companies use to reduce their environmental footprint, to keep people safe, and to improve stakeholder consultation and benefits to the communities where they operate.

Stakeholders and the public want timely access to credible information about Canada's oil and gas industry. Tracking and reporting environmental and social performance is a large task, but one that provides an opportunity to demonstrate our progress, to be candid about our challenges and to encourage a collaborative, industry-wide approach to solutions.

Increasing transparency of the oil and gas industry's social and environmental performance is important to Canada's oil and gas industry as it is to Canadians. CAPP's most recent performance data shows improvements in overall water use, safety and air emissions. The report also identifies areas where more work is needed to improve performance, such as greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and water reuse in natural gas development from shale rock.

Each year, CAPP makes public data, trends and performance analysis based on data provided by our members.

Data highlights from CAPP's 2010 Responsible Canadian Energy Progress Report:


  • The five-year trend for national Total Recordable Injury Frequency shows total (employees and contractors) reported injury rates have decreased since 2006, with TRIF declining from 1.48 in 2006 to 0.89 in 2010. However, reported data shows a slight increase in TRIF in 2010 from 2009 levels.


  • Absolute oil sands GHG emissions are 6.5 per cent of Canada's GHG emissions and 0.1 per cent of global GHG emissions.
  • Absolute GHG emissions from Canada's oil and gas sector continued to increase in 2010, to 102,399,539 tonnes. This was a result of overall production growth in oil sands and unconventional gas, as well as production shifting from conventional to unconventional reserves.


  • While mining production increased four per cent from 2009 to 2010, fresh water withdrawal dropped by six per cent. In 2010, 3.1 barrels of fresh water were used to produce one barrel of oil from oil sands mining projects. In 2006 it took 2.7 barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil from oil sands mining projects, and in 2008 fresh water use per barrel increased significantly due to start-up of new mining operations.
  • Oil sands mining withdrawals from the Athabasca River were less than three per cent of the lowest weekly winter flow in 2010.
  • In 2010, only 0.4 barrels of fresh water were used to produce one barrel of oil from oil sands in situ projects. This is the lowest rate of fresh water withdrawal per barrel of production the industry has achieved, and is due to improvements in recycling rates (upwards of 90 per cent) and replacing fresh water with non-fresh water to generate steam wherever feasible.


  • Total active footprint (land cleared, disturbed and being reclaimed for oil sands mining operations) was 71,497 hectares at the end of 2010, an increase of six per cent from 2009. Mineable oil sands are a growing, long-term resource, so the total active footprint is expected to grow for a number of years. 90 per cent of the total active footprint is cleared and disturbed land and 10 per cent is being reclaimed.

Responsibly developed and consumed crude oil and natural gas will continue to play a foundational role in Canada's and the world's energy mix for many decades to come. Canada's oil and gas industry is committed to delivering this energy to Canada and the world in a responsible way, every day.

To review the 2010 Responsible Canadian Energy Progress Report and to provide your feedback, please visit our website.