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.

In 2019, MEG continued implementation of its third generation production pad design on three well pads The third generation production pad design involves running injection and producer wells across from each other as opposed to side-by-side. MEG has also reduced GHG emissions at the third generation production pads by replacing natural gas heaters with heaters powered by electricity. In addition, MEG is optimizing the design of access roadways and gathering lines to reduce right of way widths and overall footprint.


MEG is committed to minimizing total land disturbance in its operations and in 2019 continued restoration and reclamation activities within the Dillon River Wildland Park. This area is adjacent to MEG’s existing operations and overlaps Boreal Woodland Caribou habitat. Restoration efforts in this protected Wildland Park will assist in the species recovery efforts being undertaken by the Province of Alberta. To date, MEG has completed a total of approximately 8,000 hectares of restoration in high quality caribou habitat.

Further work in 2019 included obtaining reclamation certification of four gas well sites and six exploration core hole sites, as well as initiating reclamation of an exhausted borrow pit. MEG continues to maintain compliance with our obligations to remove inactive infrastructure from its operations.

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.