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  • The Story of oil video features the voice of Chris – one of our Cenovus employees.

    Wondering where the stats and information came from in the Story of oil video?

    You heard. . . The information came from. . .
    Almost 40% of the world today lives without modern energy.

    United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Report 2011, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, pp. 67-68.

    The report says that 2.6 billion people cook with sources such as wood, charcoal and dung. Assuming the world’s population is 7.1 billion, that means that about 37% of people don’t have access to modern sources of energy.

    With demand increasing, we’ll need 56% more energy worldwide over the next 30 years.

    U.S. Energy Information Administration. International Energy Outlook, 2013 (July 2013).

    Oil is forecast to remain number one because it’s reliable, it’s transportable and it’s available. That’s what makes it the best source of energy we have for our transportation needs.

    American Petroleum Institute. Energizing America: Facts for Addressing Energy Policy, p. 33 (September 2013).

    The API’s source was the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013, Tables A1, A2 and A17.

    Oil is expected to supply 85% of the fuel needed to keep our planes, ships and vehicles on the move for years to come.

    American Petroleum Institute. Energizing America: Facts for Addressing Energy Policy, p. 33 (September 2013)

    The API’s source was the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013, Tables A1, A2 and A17.

    Canada has lots of oil. Our oil sands contain the 3rd largest oil reserve on the planet.

    U.S. Energy Information Administration. International Energy Statistics

    Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Oil Sands Today: Quick Facts

    We also understand that the use of our product has an impact. [The graph shows that transportation accounts for 12% of global CO2 emissions.]

    World Resources Institute. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (Global Anthropogenic GHG Emissions by Sector 2005).

    The Climate Analysis Indicators Tool is available on the website of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions website.

    See sources used in the video
    See sources used in the video
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Our answers to your questions about greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and more...

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are admittedly one of our industry’s biggest challenges. At Cenovus, we use a drilling technique called steam-assisted gravity drainage, also known as SAGD in the industry, to get oil from the oil sands out of the ground. GHG emissions are released when we burn natural gas to heat water, which creates steam. The steam is used to melt the rock-hard oil underground so it can be pumped to the surface.

One way we’ve been able to reduce our GHG emissions is by finding ways to use less steam in our oil sands operations. So far, our efforts have paid off. We’ve been able to reduce our GHG emissions per barrel by more than 30 percent since 2004. Our goal is to reduce that even more. Check out the technologies that are helping us achieve this goal

Many people want to see a greater shift towards renewable energy. We agree that renewables are an important part of the world’s energy future. But renewables alone can’t meet global energy demand.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewables only account for about 11 percent of the energy sources used in the world today. And forecasts show that renewables will only account for 15 percent of the world’s energy mix by 2040. So, for the foreseeable future, all energy sources – including renewables, nuclear, coal, natural gas and oil – will play an important role in meeting the world’s energy needs.

At Cenovus, we use a drilling technology that relies on injecting steam to get the oil from our oil sands projects out of the ground. The vast majority of the water we use to create this steam is either recycled or new salty water, which can't be used for drinking, animal consumption, or even for watering plants. The rest of the water that we use to create steam is fresh water, which we get from deep underground sources – not from rivers, streams, or lakes.

Besides making steam, our oil sands projects use fresh water for constructing ice roads in the winter, controlling dust in the summer and drilling. It’s also used for drinking water for our staff. This water comes from both underground and surface water sources.

There are many factors that make up the price of gasoline, including costs related to producing and refining the oil, taxes (federal, provincial and municipal), and costs associated with operating a retail gas station. There are also various market factors that impact prices such as local competition amongst gas stations, seasonal demand, and supply or demand constraints.

Natural Resources Canada answers a number of questions related to gasoline prices on their website:

Cenovus’s oil sands projects are located on or near the traditional lands of several Aboriginal communities, which are home to about 20,000 First Nations and Métis people. Through mutual respect and trust, we work hard to build strong and lasting relationships. We do this by:

  • Engaging in ongoing consultation and communication with our community members. We recognize the importance of listening and make sure we understand any impacts our operations may have so we can identify ways to avoid or minimize them.
  • Supporting economic development in our Aboriginal communities – including more than $1 billion spent since 2009 on goods and services supplied by Aboriginal businesses. See one example here:
  • Investing in communities through Aboriginal scholarship programs and other education initiatives
  • Having five long-term agreements in place with adjacent Aboriginal communities to help build certainty of our commitment to the community today and well into the future. These agreements provide benefits in areas such as employment, education, community investment funding and local economic and business development.

To find out more about how we work with our Aboriginal communities, visit

All the land Cenovus uses for its oil sands operations will be reclaimed. Not only is that our commitment – companies are required to do so by law. Reclamation – returning the land to a condition comparable to the undisturbed land around it – is a key part of the Alberta government's planning and regulatory approval process.

At Cenovus, we plan early for reclamation. Long before we break ground on a new project, we’ve already put in place a comprehensive plan to reclaim that land once it’s no longer in use. In fact, even on active projects we begin reclaiming wells and other facilities as soon as they’re no longer needed for our operations. And we’re constantly working to speed up our overall reclamation times.

The reason there isn’t more reclaimed land today is because most oil sands operations, including Cenovus’s, are still producing oil. They typically operate for about 30 years, which means that the vast majority of planned reclamation activities are still years away.

Here’s an example of some reclamation we’ve done in the oil sands of northern Alberta. These two images show land that had been cleared so we could drill the wells.

This image was taken shortly after drilling was completed
This image was taken about five years after reclamation was completed

Reclamation plans are outlined in public documents called environmental impact assessments. Here’s an example of one, which we completed for our Christina Lake oil sands project: Read attachment F for some specifics on our reclamation plan.

Now it's your turn to continue the conversation.

This discussion forum is intended to provide a place for you to share your views about energy-related issues. We expect all posts on the forum to be constructive, respectful and civil, as explained in our House rules. We will delete any comments that come to our attention that we conclude are abusive, disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate (see examples of posts we’ve had to delete.) If you see a comment that you believe is inappropriate, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box to report it. This forum uses Facebook commenting, which means you need to be signed onto Facebook in order to participate.

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