Air quality

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    Suncor works to reduce air emissions from our operations, through operational excellence, project design and innovation and technology. Our focus for air quality management is centered on air emissions (pollutants and greenhouse gases) and odours. We are committed to maintaining and improving air quality near all of our operations.

    In 2017, total Suncor-wide air emissions increased by 9% compared to 2016, largely attributed to the overall increase in VOC and NOx emissions. VOCs increased as a result of a hydrocarbon blanket gas and recovery system outage at Terra Nova, and changing methods at our oil sands mining facility. While absolute NOx emissions increased, due to production increases at our upstream facilities, the overall intensity stabilized due the implementation of low NOx emissions reduction technology in our mine fleet.

    * Air emissions include SO2, NOx and VOC emissions.
    The increase in Terra Nova’s VOC emissions and emissions intensity in 2017 was mainly due to the hydrocarbon blanket gas and recovery system being offline for a large part of 2017 when compared to ~ 100% operational in 2016.
    § For additional information about this chart and its data, please refer to performance data notes (#7 - notes on other air emissions).

    Sulphur dioxide

    The overall trend in sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions intensity over the last five years is downward, due to more reliable operations, fewer plant upsets and flaring, and increased use of alternative fuels in place of petroleum coke. Preventative maintenance on SO2 scrubbers caused annual fluctuations.

    § For additional information about this chart and its data, please refer to performance data notes (#7 - notes on other air emissions).

    Nitrogen oxides

    The overall trend in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions intensity over last five years is downward, due to the installation of low NOx emissions reduction technologies (i.e. haul truck engine replacement) in the mine fleet. The only exception is the Terra Nova facility, due to production decrease.

    § For additional information about this chart and its data, please refer to performance data notes (#7 - notes on other air emissions).

    Volatile organic compounds

    Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions intensity is stable within our in situ and refining and supply businesses. The oil sands trends have been increasing, due to changing methodology of measuring emissions across our oil sands operations. The considerable fluctuation within our Terra Nova operations, is due to a hydrocarbon blanket gas and recovery system being offline for preventative maintenance and unplanned outages.

    Oil Sands Base estimation accuracy is greater than /- 10% and limited by currently accepted methodology and measurement instruments.
    The increase in Terra Nova’s VOC emissions and emissions intensity in 2017 was mainly due to the hydrocarbon blanket gas and recovery system being offline for a large part of 2017 when compared to ~ 100% operational in 2016.
    § For additional information about this chart and its data, please refer to performance data notes (#7 - notes on other air emissions).

    Air quality monitoring

    Suncor is a member of the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA). The WBEA operates environmental monitoring programs to monitor ambient air, land and human exposure in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) in northeast Alberta – providing ambient air quality data and a real-time air quality index (updated hourly) which is available to the public.

    We also support air monitoring via the following airsheds/organizations that monitor and report air quality – ensuring timely availability of results to the public and regulatory agencies:

    Alberta

    • Parkland Airshed Management Zone
    • Alberta Capital Airshed, through involvement in the Strathcona Industrial Association
    • Alberta Clean Air Strategic Alliance
    • Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD) of Alberta Environment and Parks

    Ontario

    • Clarkson Airshed Study, through participation in the Clarkson Airshed Industrial Association
    • Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association

    Montreal

    • We work with the Service de l’environnement de la ville de Montréal by providing ambient air quality monitoring data

    Odour monitoring in the RMWB

    Suncor consistently engages with community stakeholders, government and other external agencies on odours, to discuss best practices and odour management strategies – and regularly organizes meetings between industry and community members to discuss their concerns. We’re also engaged in researching and testing new methods and technologies to monitor fugitive emissions.

    Recommended readings
    Sustainability goals
    Performance data
    Operations summary