2012 GHG performance
Our Report on Sustainability provides an annual accounting of Suncor’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, both in terms of absolute emissions and emissions intensity. The latter is calculated by using full-year net production and the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) volumes emitted.
As reported in our 2012 Annual Report, total upstream production averaged 549,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) through the course of 2012, compared to 546,000 boe/d in 2011. Oil Sands production (excluding Syncrude) averaged 324,800 barrels per day (bbls/d) in 2012, compared to 304,700 bbls/d in 2011.
Download the 2012 Annual Report (PDF 139 pp., 776 KB)
The most significant production change: a 75% growth in production at Suncor's Firebag in situ operations, due to the ramp up of Firebag Stage 3 and the commissioning of Firebag Stage 4 facilities in 2012. Annual bitumen production from Firebag increased to 104,000 bbls/d in 2012, from 59,500 bbls/d in 2011. Oil Sands production (excluding Syncrude) averaged 324,800 barrels per day (bbls/d) in 2012, compared to 304,700 bbls/d in 2011.
However, Suncor's overall production was impacted by upgrader reliability in Oil Sands as well as planned maintenance and unplanned repairs related to the Terra Nova offshore turnaround.
Production numbers in Suncor's Annual Report are for upstream volumes only, and include production from non-operated assets. This differs from production numbers used in Suncor's Report on Sustainability, which includes 100% of the production at Suncor-operated facilities only, and also includes downstream throughput volumes of saleable products. For the purposes of our sustainability report, total production in 2012 was approximately 49.1 million cubic metres, compared to 48.8 million cubic metres in 2011.
Please note: the sum of the individual Suncor facilities production will not equal the reported net corporate production. Inter- and intra-business unit product transfers (hydrocarbon streams that pass through more than one Suncor facility) are removed from the corporate and business unit totals to give the net production. This is done to prevent double-counting of hydrocarbon streams sent for further processing inside the company.
- Individual facility intensities are calculated based on net facility production.
- Business unit intensities are calculated based on net facility production totals minus intra-business unit material transfers.
- Corporate GHG intensity is calculated based on net corporate production which also removes inter-business unit transfers.
Overall absolute emissions and emissions intensity
Absolute full-year carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 totalled 20.8 million tonnes, compared to 18.8 million tonnes in 2011 — a 11.1% or two megatonne increase. This was mainly due to 1,470 kilotonnes of CO2e emissions from the ramp up of Firebag 3, the commissioning of Firebag 4, and negligible increase from Mackay River.The remaining 0.7 megatonne increase was due to a methodology improvement at the Oil Sands base plant for fugitive emissions sources.
Using globally accepted GRI protocols, Suncor's reported corporate GHG emissions intensity increased by 10.5% in 2012 over 2011. The increase was mainly due to the ramp up of Firebag 3 and commissioning of Firebag 4. When an in situ plant is commissioned, steaming occurs for a period of time before full oil production rates are reached, so the initial intensity of the expansion facilities can be quite high for the first few months. Also contributing to the increase was a change in methodology at the Oil Sands base plant, as well as an extended turnaround at the Terra Nova floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO).
Intensity increases at our in situ operations were partially offset by intensity decreases at North America Onshore, Edmonton refinery and the St. Clair ethanol plant.
All numbers included are for significant operated facilities and properties only and represent 100% of the direct and indirect emissions at these facilities. Data is not broken down by working interest and does not include non-operated facilities.
Suncor-wide GHG emissions intensity actual and estimates
Footnotes 1-9 apply
(1) Estimates are based on current production forecasts and methodologies. The tables contain forward-looking estimates and users of this information are cautioned that the actual GHG emissions and emission intensity may vary materially from the estimates contained in the table.
(2) Data from 1990 to 2000 does not include Suncor's U.S. operations.
(3) Data here includes both direct and indirect CO2e emissions, whereas the data included in the Alberta SGER reports are direct only. No credit is taken for GHG reductions due to cogen credits.
(4) Data and estimates for 2007 forward include the St. Clair ethanol plant.
(5) Data and estimates have changed from previous year's reports due to Oil Sands methodology changes that reflect the inclusion of biomass, a methodology change in the calculation of fugitive emissions using flux chamber data, and revisions to emissions factors and calculations based upon AESRD's request. These changes are also consistent with the methodology used for SGER Bill 3 reporting.
(6) Data for 2009 and future years includes the full-year emissions for all Petro-Canada operated properties acquired in the 2009 merger, even though the merger did not close until Aug. 1, 2009. This is to allow for a consistent comparison to past and future years. For certain business units (BU's), combined Suncor / Petro-Canada data is provided for some years prior to 2009 but this is not reflected in the Suncor-wide roll-up.
(7) The business-as-usual (BAU) line shown in previous years has been removed as it is no longer applicable to the merged company. A new BAU line may be added in the future once a new baseline has been developed.
(8) The Suncor-wide emissions intensity uses Net Production, which is the sum of Net Facility Production minus all internal intra- and inter-BU product transfers, to remove any double counting. The sum of the BU intensities will therefore not equal the Suncor-wide intensity.
(9) Suncor-wide emissions are inclusive of emissions from the pipeline from Oil Sands to the Edmonton Refinery, which are not included in individual business unit values. The emission total for this source for 2012 was 47,500 tonnes CO2e.
Direct GHG emissions: Emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.
Indirect GHG emissions: Emissions that are a consequence of the operations of the reporting company, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another company (e.g., purchased electricity, steam, or hydrogen).
Absolute (total) emissions: The total GHG emissions (direct and indirect emissions) of a facility or reporting company.
Emission intensity: Ratio that express GHG emissions per unit of physical activity or unit of economic value (e.g., here it is tonnes of CO2e emissions per unit of net processed volume in cubic metres).
What follows are highlights and explanations describing the most noteworthy emissions variances at some of our operations. Where emissions were relatively flat or stable, no commentary is offered. However, emissions totals and variances for all of our operated facilities are available in the data section of this report.