Land and Habitat
Husky stewards the land in its care, from a project’s planning stage through to the asset’s retirement. Potential impacts are identified so they can be avoided, minimized or mitigated, and the land is ultimately remediated and reclaimed.
Existing conditions and potential impacts must be understood before work starts on a project. The Company conducts various levels of pre-disturbance site assessments for proposed projects and more comprehensive environmental impact assessments for major developments. Conservation efforts throughout a project’s life allow for a more successful reclamation when the asset is retired.
A number of methods are used to analyze alternatives as plans are developed. For example, Husky uses specially trained dogs to protect wildlife. Along with their handler, dogs identify wildlife movement and sensitive sites such as bear dens. This allows for those areas to be avoided when conducting seismic programs.
Husky monitors land and habitat during operations, and assesses how to minimize or mitigate potential impacts.
Activities are planned so that sensitive animal and bird activities, such as known bear dens in winter, aren’t affected. To better understand habitat use, workers and in-field cameras observe and record the movements of local wildlife. When an impact is observed, mitigation is undertaken to maintain or restore ecosystem services.
Surface water on leases is managed, including the use of containment systems to prevent soil erosion and to help prevent a release from migrating off-site. Vegetation control inhibits the spread of weeds and minimizes fire hazards. Husky’s waste tracking system monitors and verifies the type and volume of waste generated, how it is handled and how it is disposed of, treated or recycled.
To improve the reclamation timetable, work is undertaken on lands no longer required for operations, even if the project is ongoing. Progressive reclamation allows work to begin sooner to return land to its pre-disturbance condition and reduce maintenance costs.
End of Life and Asset Retirement
Husky prioritizes its inventory of inactive assets to determine which have future production potential and which should be retired.
This includes pipelines associated with inactive wells or lines with no flow, which are identified, assessed for future potential and prioritized for abandonment. In 2015, 523 lines were abandoned in Western Canada.
The process of retiring a well begins with properly abandoning both the downhole and surface components. The Company’s long-term, proactive abandonment program works towards the timely and effective retirement of inactive sites that have no future potential. Candidates for abandonment are ranked and grouped by geography so that resources are used more efficiently.
Land on the site is restored so it can support similar ecological functions to those that existed before any disturbance. This could include re-contouring sites, addressing potential contamination, replacing soil layers and re-establishing vegetation.
This process takes approximately five years to complete, from initial re-contouring to verification the site meets regulatory criteria. All reclaimed sites are submitted for regulatory approval and review by the land owner and/or occupant. Husky has achieved an average 98 percent approval rate on its submissions. Over the past five years, the Company has certified 1,023 sites and returned approximately 5,000 acres of land to its pre-disturbance condition.
Asset retirement obligations and their associated status are tracked in Husky’s Environmental Performance Reporting System, and are calculated and disclosed on a quarterly basis, complying with financial reporting regulations. This allows the Company to better estimate its obligations and account for appropriate financial resources related to abandonment, reclamation and remediation activities. Between 2011 and 2014 Husky undertook regional abandonment programs with a considerable number of assets in each area. In 2015 the program focus shifted to high priority sites.