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    CNQ   CA1363851017

CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LIMITED

(CNQ)
  Report
Delayed Toronto Stock Exchange  -  02:17 2022-10-03 pm EDT
68.20 CAD   +6.07%
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Canada's oil sands sector aims to release treated tailings water into river

08/18/2022 | 06:11pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: The Suncor tar sands processing plant near the Athabasca River at their mining operations near Fort McMurray.

(Reuters) - Canada's oil sands mining industry on Thursday outlined proposals to release treated water from tailings ponds into northern Alberta's Athabasca River, a move environmental groups say risks damaging one of the world's largest freshwater deltas.

Unlike other extractive industries in Canada, oil sands firms are not allowed to release treated tailings water.

New federal regulations, expected to be finalised in 2025, will govern how tailings could be safely drained into the Athabasca, a 1,231 km river that originates in the Canadian Rockies and flows into Lake Athabasca.

Tailings - a toxic mix of water, clay, sand, residual bitumen and trace metals - are a byproduct of extracting bitumen from mined oil sands and are stored in huge engineered ponds, some of which have been accumulating water since the 1960s.

The total volume of oil sands tailings grew to 1.36 trillion cubic metres in 2020, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator, from 1.07 trillion cubic metres in 2017.

Industry members say companies need to be able to treat and release the water so they can reclaim land disturbed by oil sands operations.

"The water has to go someplace," said Rodney Guest, director of water and closure at Suncor Energy.

"To this date, we have been doing everything but releasing the water ... while other (water management) options are in play and we have used many of them, they cannot replace the need for water release."

Water volumes stored in tailings ponds equalled about 2% of the annual flow of the Athabasca River, but would be released over many years, said Charles Dumaresq, the Mining Association of Canada's (MAC) vice president of science and environmental management.

Producers say they have a number of methods to treat tailings. Suncor's Guest said the cost would be substantial but difficult to quantify until regulators determine exactly what criteria companies have to meet.

Environmental campaigners are skeptical.

"Dumping the tailings is not safe, there has been no independent testing to prove what (oil sands companies) are saying is true," said Jesse Cardinal, executive director of Keepers of the Water.

MAC's presentation took place as a United Nations team began a mission to determine whether Wood Buffalo National Park, which lies downstream of the oil sands, should be added to a list of endangered World Heritage Sites.

Wood Buffalo, located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories, is Canada's largest national park. It contains the vast Peace-Athabasca freshwater delta, which has been slowly drying up due to climate change and hydroelectric developments upstream, prompting action by UNESCO.

(Reporting by Nia Williams in Revelstoke, British Columbia; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

By Nia Williams


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LIMITED 6.03% 68.2 Delayed Quote.20.30%
LONDON BRENT OIL 1.05% 88.79 Delayed Quote.9.50%
SUNCOR ENERGY INC. 7.79% 41.93 Delayed Quote.22.91%
WTI 2.01% 83.639 Delayed Quote.8.90%
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Financials
Sales 2022 44 774 M 32 830 M 32 830 M
Net income 2022 13 565 M 9 946 M 9 946 M
Net Debt 2022 10 336 M 7 579 M 7 579 M
P/E ratio 2022 5,70x
Yield 2022 6,87%
Capitalization 72 108 M 52 520 M 52 872 M
EV / Sales 2022 1,84x
EV / Sales 2023 1,98x
Nbr of Employees 9 735
Free-Float 97,8%
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Number of Analysts 21
Last Close Price 64,30 CAD
Average target price 94,65 CAD
Spread / Average Target 47,2%
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Tim Shawn McKay President, Chief Operating Officer & Director
Mark A. Stainthorpe Chief Financial Officer & Senior VP-Finance
Norman Murray Edwards Executive Chairman
Stephen C. Suche Vice President-Information & Corporate Services
David Arnold Tuer Independent Director
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1st jan.Capi. (M$)
CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LIMITED20.30%52 520