Oil and gas industry achievements demonstrating environmental, social, health and safety leadership were recognized last night with awards presented by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) through the Responsible Canadian Energy (RCE) program.
The RCE program is an important next step in the evolution of stewardship for CAPP member companies. It provides common metrics for performance measurement and reporting, supporting tools to assist in the design and implementation of internal processes, and an opportunity to share success stories and best practices.
"Our industry is committed to continuous performance improvement, measuring results and assessing - in an open, transparent manner - where we need to improve," said Dave Collyer, CAPP president. "Each year, we recognize the innovative actions of companies that continue to believe good' is just not good enough."
This year, 30 projects were submitted for consideration by the RCE Advisory Group. More than 420 industry representatives and other stakeholders attended last night's event to honour the 2011 award recipients.
"These projects are examples of exceptional achievement that will continue to elevate our performance as an entire industry. This is fundamental to our social license to operate and our ability to engage in a balanced discussion about responsible resource development," Collyer said.
A critical component of the RCE program is the measurement, reporting and analysis of data to demonstrate where the industry is making progress and where more focus is needed to achieve desired results.
Read more about the 2011 awards
Responsible Canadian Energy
Tailings Management and Wapisiw Lookout
Suncor is investing $1.2 billion to implement its new TROâ„¢ tailings management process, expected to reduce tailings reclamation time by up to two decades when compared to current methods. In June 2010, Suncor secured regulatory approval to use the TROâ„¢ process commercially and has accelerated implementation of the technology across its existing operations.
Suncor expects to reduce the number of ponds at its present oil sands mine site from eight to one, shrinking total land area covered by the ponds by about 80 per cent.
In September 2010, Suncor completed surface reclamation of a tailings pond, a key step in reclamation. Located north of Fort McMurray, the 220-hectare Wapisiw Lookout, formerly known as Pond 1, was transformed into a surface solid enough to be actively revegetated and reclaimed.
Over the next two decades, Suncor will maintain and monitor progress on site, including the growth of 630,000 shrubs and trees planted in 2010. Ongoing soil, water and vegetation assessments will help ensure the site remains on course for return to a self-sustaining ecosystem.
Environmental Performance Award
Apache Canada and Encana Corporation
Water Stewardship in Practice - The Debolt Water Treatment Project
Apache and Encana formed a joint venture partnership to share in developing infrastructure designed to reduce environmental impact in British Columbia's Horn River Basin.
Test results from a study completed in 2007 indicated the Debolt water reservoir was a deep, sub-surface non-potable aquifer capable of supplying water for hydraulic fracturing operations in the area.
With a shared vision to reduce dependence on fresh surface water, Apache and Encana began initial laboratory testing and field trials, which resulted in the construction of a full-scale plant. The plant went into operation in June 2010.
The Debolt water treatment plant is the first of its kind. Over the course of only two years, Apache and Encana decreased use of surface water and secured access to an integrated water treatment and distribution system that allows for full recovery and re-use of fracture fluids.
Social Performance Award
Local Opportunity Centre
The south Athabasca area historically had not seen much oil sands development activity until recent years. From the earliest discussions with the communities near oil sands leases, communities expressed a desire not only for employment, but for sustainable economic benefits in the form of business opportunities.
In the fall of 2009, Statoil established a business development resource centre at Conklin Corner, known as the Local Opportunity Centre, a partnership with communities, other oil sands companies and governments.
This employment and business resource centre helps develop a skilled and safer local workforce. It provides local vendors with access to training and business development tools. It ensures contractors have access to information about current and future business opportunities.
Since its inception, the centre has seen more than 1,200 people walk through its doors. It is instrumental in encouraging local companies to participate with the Statoil project, resulting in a 178 per cent participation increase, while maintaining Statoil's strict health, safety and environment standards. Local and community-affiliated companies generated an excess of $91.7 million in contracts with Statoil.
Health and Safety Award
43 Million Hours Without a Lost Time Incident
Earlier this year, the Athabasca Oil Sands Project's Expansion 1 project passed a historic milestone of 43 million hours without a Lost Time Incident (LTI) across its operations. An LTI is an accident that results in a worker being unable to return to work as a result of injuries. This marked the first time any project has realized this achievement in the history of the Royal Dutch Shell Group.
The project's 43 million hours LTI-free was achieved through a focus on leadership, organizational efficiency and effective communication. Shell built a culture of "felt leadership" which consisted of implementing leadership training, mentoring trained leaders, improving work processes, improving work practices and improving engagement methods that demonstrated visible, committed and involved leadership.
The project's focus on implementing measureable leading health, safety and environment indicators and setting new standards for team performance and engagement positively changed the way many of the contractors working for Shell conduct business.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce more than 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.