Efficient Land Use Design

MEG’s surface footprint for its SAGD operations measures less than 4% of the underground reservoir area, compared to standard mining operations, which impact 100% of surface land.

Well pad design improvements and advances in drilling technology have enabled MEG to improve its well pad land use by more than 50% since 2009.

The satellite image below of downtown Toronto provides spatial context of this and shows the small amount of disturbance required for surface pads as compared to the large recoverable resource area accessed by wells. Since MEG’s oil extraction occurs deep below the surface, natural ecosystems including wetlands, trees and lakes are protected.


The use of progressive reclamation accelerates the time it takes to return an area to its previous state. Our practice to carefully salvage all soil materials ensures that native species can grow and flourish during reclamation phases.

MEG has been running a Wetland Reclamation Trial on an exhausted borrow pit since 2014 to improve strategies and best practices for reclamation within wetlands. The information gathered in the trial is reported to Alberta regulators and the findings are shared with our industry peers to advance reclamation practices in Alberta. Initial results have been valuable and have indicated a positive correlation between topsoil depth and tree height which reflects the importance of properly salvaging topsoil at the start of project life.

In 2018, MEG conducted a number of important reclamation activities, including the reclamation of five borrow pits used to provide clay for building roads to well pads.

The work includes re-contouring to natural landforms, replacing the soil, and replanting trees, shrubs and native plants. MEG also has an active reclamation program for its oil sands evaluation wells