In 2016, MEG recycled 90% of the water we utilized to produce steam. The ratio of water we use compared to the bitumen we develop is about 50% lower than the in situ industry average and significantly lower than the oil sands mining average.
Our SAGD operations utilize no surface water from streams, rivers or lakes, and no water that has been used in our processes is discharged to the environment. The water needed to produce steam for MEG’s SAGD operations comes from non-drinkable sources located deep under the ground.
These sources include saline aquifers, unsuitable for human or agricultural use, located hundreds of metres below ground from the hydrocarbon-bearing Clearwater and McMurray formations. Because of their depths, withdrawal of water from these aquifers has minimal environmental impact.
Since 2011, our eMSAP process and optimization of recycling technology has enabled MEG to reduce our total water withdrawal intensity by 53%*.
Our eMSAGP technology has enabled us to reduce our steam-oil ratio by about 50% to an industry-leading range of 1.0 to 1.25. Less steam means less water used in our production.
MEG conducts extensive ground and surface water monitoring to ensure operations do not impact the environment or drinkable water sources. We also sample storm water collected on our sites to make certain no contamination – including excess silt – is carried into the environment with runoff from rain or snow.
* MEG's total water withdrawal intensity data from 2011-2015 has been third-party verified. 2016 data is preliminary.