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Canadian Energy Giant Aims For Net Zero Oil Sands Emissions

Canadian Natural Resources, Canada’s biggest oil and producer, is looking to achieve net zero emissions in its oil sands operations by using innovative technologies, executive vice chairman Steve Laut told CBC News in an interview published on Wednesday.

The company hasn’t set a timeline for this ambitious target, but Laut says that such a goal is “doable.”

“It’s going to take some time and it won’t be easy, but there’s a lot of technology out there. It’s impressive,” the executive told CBC News’ Kyle Bakx, noting that the company is also one of the world’s biggest carbon capture players.

Canadian Natural is the fifth largest owner of carbon capture and sequestration and storage (CCS) capacity in the world’s oil and gas industry, the company said in its 2018 Report to Stakeholders.

Canadian Natural Resources has reduced its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent since 2014, and has slashed venting at primary heavy oil operations in Alberta by 72 percent since 2014, the report showed.

“Canadian Natural is strongly committed to reducing GHG emissions with a long-term aspirational target of net zero emissions in our oil sands operations. We support Canada’s leadership in the Paris Agreement as a pathway to reduce GHG emissions and drive innovation. In many cases, the GHG emissions intensity of our operations is well below the average intensity for all global crude oils,” the company said.

Another major Canadian oil producer, Cenovus, says that since 2004, it has reduced its oil sands GHG per-barrel emissions by one third.

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According to Natural Resources Canada, technological and operational efficiency improvements led to a 28-percent reduction in oil sands emissions per barrel between 2000 and 2017.

“We recognize that there are growing concerns globally about the effects of climate change and that the transition to a lower-carbon economy is already underway,” Cenovus says, echoing comments from other major oil companies in the world.

Earlier this month, Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said the world needs to get to the point at which it will no longer add to the stock of greenhouse gases, and reducing emissions to net zero “is the only way to go.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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