Aligned with our purpose, we are committed to a culture of operational discipline where we manage our water use and reduce our impacts to protect the environment. We do this through:
- Compliance and monitoring programs
- Continuous improvement measures
- Investment in technology and innovation
Suncor is committed to water stewardship and we are developing a robust framework that will more meaningfully focus our future efforts on water.
In May 2019, members of the First Nations and Métis community were invited to the Lake Miwasin / Constructed Wetland Treatment System workshop. The workshop provided an opportunity for additional community input on the proposed research and monitoring projects for the community led monitoring program for the Lake Miwasin project.
In 2019, we saw improved water efficiency at Base Plant; decreased production and water use at our in situ sites; increased water withdrawal and consumption at Fort Hills; and relatively consistent operations at our refineries.
In 2019, our absolute freshwater consumption increased by 10% and freshwater consumption intensity increased by approximately 7% compared to 2018 performance, as a result of Fort Hills building up on-site water inventory that will be reused and recycled.
Fresh water consumption
|Oil Sands Base Plant||16.6||20.1||15.18||14.94||13.43|
|Oil Sands Fort Hills||–||–||–||25.28||31.38|
|Oil Sands In Situ||1.67||1.33||1.17||1.05||1.25|
|Refining and Logistics||17.28||14.41||5.1||4.35||4.62|
Fresh water consumption intensity
|Oil Sands Base Plant||0.87||1.31||0.8||0.89||0.71|
|Oil Sands Fort Hills||–||–||–||3.35||3.30|
|Oil Sands In Situ||0.13||0.11||0.09||0.08||0.10|
|Refining and Logistics||0.63||0.53||0.18||0.16||0.17|
We continue to work to reduce freshwater withdrawal and increase our use of recycled tailings water at our mining sites. In 2019, Base Plant freshwater withdrawal decreased by 10%. Approximately 92% of the water used by our mining and extraction operations in 2019 was recycled tailings water. At Fort Hills, absolute freshwater consumption increased by 24% due to ramp-up of production at the site and the need to build up initial water inventory. We expect water withdrawals to decline in future years.
At our Firebag site, approximately 96% of the water used is recycled. At MacKay River, in 2019 the site had a 99.6% water recycle rate. The make-up water for our sites is drawn from recycled wastewater, surface run-off water and from groundwater wells.
Refining and Logistics
Our refineries use fresh water for heating and cooling. While water use has remained relatively flat, there have been local initiatives that have resulted in more efficient water use.
Exploration and Production
In our East Coast Canada operations, water is either produced offshore through desalination, or is transferred via vessel from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.