Fire slows Suncor's downward trend in GHG emission reduction, says 12th climate change report
Suncor Energy's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reached almost 9.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), company-wide, in 2005, representing a 7.9% drop from 2004. However, GHG emission intensity (emissions per barrel of oil) increased by 3.7%, notes the company's recently-released 12th Annual Progress Report on Climate Change.
The reduction from 2004 was largely due to a January 2005 fire in one of the upgraders at its oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta. This affected production for approximately nine months, reducing annual output by nearly 25% from 2004.
While the year-to-year figure declined, Suncor's GHG emissions have increased by 26.8% since 2000, due mainly to continuing growth in operations, says the report. Since 1990, the company's production has increased by 170%, while GHG emissions increased by 101% during the same period.
The increase in emission intensity was also due to the 2005 fire, specifically, several energy-intensive steps the company took to protect its operating units from cold weather damage. The decrease in total emissions was not commensurate with the drop in production, resulting in the higher emission intensity.
Since the completion of the fire recovery work, Suncor has resumed full production levels and a reduction in emission intensity. The report notes that despite the 2005 setbacks, conservation and energy efficiency efforts between 1990 and 2005 have prevented the release of an additional 42.4 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
"From the point of view of our climate change objectives, 2005 was a challenging year," said Suncor president and CEO Rick George. "But we are back on track with our efforts to actively manage greenhouse gas emissions."
The report reviews Suncor's efforts in 2005 to manage GHG emissions in the context of as its seven-point Climate Change Action Plan. In addition to initiatives aimed at managing its own emissions, the plan addresses areas such as measurement and public reporting, environmental and economic research, development of alternative and renewable energy and domestic and international offsets.
For example, the report notes that in 2005, Suncor continued to be a leader in renewable energy development through the construction of Canada's largest ethanol plant (which opened in 2006) and by advancing plans for its fourth wind farm. Suncor also helped launch an industry initiative to develop a broad-based carbon capture and storage solution for Canada.
The full report may be viewed on the company's Web site, www.suncor.ca. More information is also available from Darcie Park at Suncor, 403/205-7959.