Protecting Air Quality

Corporate Responsibility

Protecting Air Quality

Air quality programs are an essential part of our environmental work plan and are operated within regulatory standards and guidelines. We measure our air emissions by conducting specific monitoring at our larger facilities and by participating in regional airshed monitoring.

Our sulphur recovery units minimize emissions by managing the volume of production feed in relation to equipment capacity. Horizon’s sulphur recovery unit achieved a 99% recovery, well above regulatory requirements of 98.5%. We also utilize low-NOx burner technology that reduces emissions of NOx and CO2. Future Horizon expansion phases will incorporate additional technology to increase efficiencies and further reduce air emissions.

For Canadian Natural’s current and historical SO2 and NOx emissions, please refer to the Performance section of our 2015 Stewardship Report to Stakeholders.

Monitoring Air Quality

We work with stakeholders near our operations to ensure their air quality is of a high standard. Within Canada, Canadian Natural participates in both local and regional monitoring programs. Site specific, real-time data collection allows us to minimize SO2 emissions at Horizon and Primrose and Wolf Lake operations through Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS).

Regionally, airshed monitoring programs assess the ambient air quality by also collecting real-time data and reporting their findings publicly. Alberta’s ambient air quality objectives and guidelines are developed under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA).

Substantial efforts are being undertaken to monitor air quality near industrial sources, in local communities and downwind of oil sands industrial activities. Air quality in the oil sands region is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year across the region.

As part of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) program, we are an active participant in the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA), a collaboration of communities, environmental groups, industry, government and Aboriginal stakeholders. WBEA manages programs that include air, land and human exposure monitoring. It operates the most extensive ambient air network in Alberta, and monitors air quality in the region. WBEA’s air monitoring information is openly shared with stakeholders and the public and is available in real time on their website at

For more information, read our Environmental Planning and Monitoring section.