Land & Biodiversity

Our operations create a temporary footprint in Alberta’s boreal forest, an immense natural resource with a diverse wilderness that is integral to the province’s biodiversity. Effective management of our environmental impact and asset retirement obligations are important in limiting our exposure to regulatory and liability costs, as well as reputational risk. We also recognize that we operate within a local herd range of boreal woodland Caribou and require targeted management plans to be in place. We conduct our business with the understanding that the land we occupy is shared and leased from citizens of Alberta.

It is our obligation to return the ecosystem to its original, fully functioning ecological state. We conduct our business with the understanding that the land we occupy is shared and leased from citizens of Alberta.

Targets

To strengthen our efforts in responsibly developing and protecting the land, MEG strives to bring all abandoned wells to reclamation status within 5 years and we are committed to investing at least $300,000 in annual caribou habitat restoration efforts between 2021 and 2025.

Performance

Reduced Footprint and Efficient Land Use Design

We have improved well pad use efficiency by more than 50% since 2009 and our related surface footprint is less than 4% of the accessed underground reservoir area. We accomplished this by re-designing the placement infrastructure on surface to decrease the required footprint, in parallel with advancements in drilling technology, to access more reservoir underground from a single surface pad. The satellite image below of downtown Toronto provides this spatial context and shows the small amount of disturbance required for surface pads, as compared to the large recoverable resource area accessed by wells.

Since 2011, we have worked to move more than 425 hectares of land to active reclamation status, with a total of approximately 400,000 trees being planted in that time.

Caribou Habitat Restoration and Stewardship

Since 2016, we have allocated $2.5MM to caribou restoration and are committed to continuing an equivalent or greater annual investment towards this important work in support of the local Christina Caribou Herd. Since 2016, we have taken voluntary measures to restore and reclaim areas adjacent to our operations in the Dillon River Wildland Park. Restoration in this area will assist in caribou recovery efforts being promoted by the Province of Alberta. To date, we have voluntarily restored over 8,000 hectares of contiguous high-quality caribou habitat. For comparison, our current active footprint within the East Side Athabasca Range (ESAR) caribou range is 2,774 hectares. In 2019 and 2020, we have surrendered over 65,000 hectares of oil sands leases within caribou ranges back to the Province of Alberta for consideration in ongoing caribou range planning initiatives.

Spills

We continue to make efforts to improve spill performance. Although historical spill intensities were influenced by one time events and have not resulted in lasting adverse environmental impact, MEG maintains this as a point of focus for improvement.

In response to our recent performance, MEG has implemented targeted and topical communication programs increasing focus on spill prevention and management actions, including routine maintenance, equipment inspections, enhanced risk assessments and updated procedures where spill risks were identified. All spills are reported to appropriate regulatory agencies and thoroughly cleaned up in a timely manner, leaving no adverse impact to the environment or aquatic ecosystems.