Environment FAQ

What is the industry doing about climate change? Find the answers to this and the most frequently asked questions.

What is the industry doing about climate change?

We all have a role to play in managing climate change, and Canadians expect the oil and natural gas industry to do its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We’re focused on finding new technologies – like carbon capture and storage as well as creating organizations such as Canadian Oil sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to help address these issues.

How much water does the industry use?

Water is part of oil and natural gas production, and we are committed to using water responsibly. The industry is a leader in researching recycling techniques and reusing water. Across the entire industry, we focus on using saline water as an alternative to fresh water.

What exactly are tailings ponds and what is the industry doing to manage them?

In open-pit mining, companies use hot water to separate very heavy oil (bitumen) from the sticky sand. This water is then sent to a tailings pond – often a discontinued mine pit. The tailings are a mixture of water, clay, sand and residual bitumen. Tailings ponds allow the water to be recycled in the mining operation. While just 20 per cent of oil sands are produced through mining, the tailings ponds created are large and impact the landscape.

What happens to the land that you work on after industry is finished with development and production?

Oil and natural gas activity has an effect on the land we use. Reclaiming the land is an important part of our environmental practices.

What steps does the industry take to minimize its impact on wildlife?

Our industry operates in areas shared by many forms of wildlife. We work hard to minimize impact by using new technologies and collaborating with other industries.