Covering 780 square kilometres (about 300 square miles), Cold Lake is one of the largest thermal in situ operations in the world and supplies our Strathcona Refinery and refineries across Canada and the United States, so they can create the fuel, asphalt and products that keep life running.
What does thermal in situ mean? It means the bitumen here is too deep to be extracted by mining and we use heat to bring oil to the surface. It also means that oil here is produced with a land footprint similar to conventional oil.
Our environment. Our innovation.
It all started with Cyclic Steam Stimulation, which we still use today. That’s a fancy way of saying we use steam to extract bitumen from 400 metres under the ground using a vertical well.
But we weren’t done innovating. In 2001, we invented LASER which reduced the use of steam. Less steam means less use of water, and less energy to heat the water we do use. This reduces our greenhouse gas intensity. We currently use LASER at 240 wells at Cold Lake.
We are also testing next-generation technologies here that reduce our water and energy use even more.
1.1 M tonnes
GHG emissions avoided thanks to cogeneration out of all our Alberta facilities, including Cold Lake. Approximately the equivalent of 232,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year or approximately 2,700 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
Clean air. Less emissions.
Cogeneration: We generate more power than we need. So why not export that power back to the grid with two energy-saving cogeneration facilities which produce steam and electricity from the same fuel.
Air quality monitoring: we partner with Lakeland Industry and Community Association to monitor man-made and natural emissions in the air with four monitoring stations that provide up-to-the-minute measurements.
Less water everyday
This is how we reduce water today, but it only gets better from here. Our CSP technology, which will be used to extract oil out of certain reservoirs, requires almost no water at all.
Reclaiming the land. Protecting wildlife.
That requires forethought and collaboration. We tap into the wisdom of Indigenous people who show us how everything in nature works together. We partner with other industry experts in our vegetation cooperative to collect native plant seeds in the area to be used in progressive reclamation projects.
Bears, foxes, owls are not an uncommon sight for our employees and contractors. We use critter cards to track and monitor wildlife on our sites and maintain our certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council, a group of conservation organizations dedicated to restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat.
“Imperial is committed to continuous improvement and our reclamation practices continue to evolve. As we learn, we continue to do better to ensure we meet our goal of Protecting Tomorrow Today”.
The future of oil sands is happening today at Cold Lake. Doing things differently, advancing new technology, protecting the environment, and engaging with communities – all these things require people with expertise, perseverance, and good old grit. Our 400 employees and 1,000 contractors are the muscle and minds behind what we do, and most come from the City of Cold Lake, or the MD and Town of Bonnyville.
We set our teams up for success through training and development programs, mentorship and job rotation opportunities, along with networking programs that help our diverse people connect and grow professionally and technically.
We are relentlessly focused on making sure our people go home safely every day. We look out for each other so Nobody Gets Hurt.
Learn more about our commitment to safety.
Women in Wage
Our Women in Wage (WIW) network was formed in 1991 to support, mentor and empower women entering careers where they might not see a lot of other women.
Imperial Indigenous Network
Our Indigenous Network (IN) has provided support to our Indigenous team members for over 25 years.
Hear from plant operator, Tony Badger, about his experience with IN.
Women’s Interest Network
We also have a Women’s Interest Network (WIN), which helps facilitate professional support for, and personal growth of, female employees.
It’s all about community. Strong communities are where we find great people and important perspectives. Our communities live in Cold Lake, and the MD or Town of Bonnyville, and include 12 First Nation and Métis communities.
Cold Lake is a mix of people who stay for generations and Canadians who come in across the country for work and opportunity. They’re friendly, welcoming and whether they’re here for a season or a reason, they look out for each other and the environment.
Our care for the communities begins with our ongoing communication and engagement – we inform, consult, and report back on what we’re doing. Always.
Public notice of upcoming minor work: Marie Creek
Giving to the community is the gift that keeps giving back. When we encourage innovation, we get innovation. When we invest in technical skills and leadership capacity, we get strong, effective partners, service providers, community organizations and employees. We succeed when everyone succeeds.
To learn more about our investment in communities or apply for grants, visit our community investment page.
The perspectives of Indigenous people help us understand the impacts of our operations and mitigate them. They help us see things from a different perspective – the whole of nature, and not just the parts.
We also bring Indigenous communities into our practices by investing in Indigenous businesses. We believe in the vision of companies that employ Indigenous people – and we invest in them. Take Pimee Well Servicing for example; the 100-percent Indigenous owned company is one of our longest-standing and biggest well servicing providers.
Community safety and emergency response
Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility here. We regularly do emergency simulation exercises and are always prepared should a crisis occur.
In the event of an emergency at Cold Lake, we will respond according to our robust emergency response plans. To learn more about how we protect our communities and our people, visit our safety overview.
Imperial media line: 587-476-7010
Emergency contact (24 hours): 780-639-5200
Imperial Oil Resources - Cold Lake Operations
P.O. Box 1020
Socioeconomic advisor - Indigenous community relations
Latest information on our operation
We're committed to progressive reclamation of our operations and actively find ways to incorporate indigenous knowledge into our approach to reclamation. Recently, we hosted tours at our Cold Lake and Kearl locations for local Indigenous communities ...
#DYK that Cold Lake has 15 wildlife cameras set up around site as part of our Wildlife Management and Monitoring Plan (WMMP)? Our WMMP helps protect and conserve wildlife and their habitat, as well as ensuring sustainable development by demonstrating...
Last week to apply for our Billion Barrel Scholarship! If you know any new graduates set to start their post-secondary educations this fall, be sure to tag them in the comments below! Each year we award two $5,000 scholarships to students in the Lake...
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This is the last week to apply for our annual $1,000 Indigenous Educational Award! The application deadline is this Friday, July 31. Please share this with anyone you know who would make a great candidate! The award is designed to assist a student in...
You may be in the heat of summer, but it's never too early to start thinking about the Fall! Specifically, our Billion Barrel Scholarship - two $5,000 scholarships that are awarded annually to students in the Lakeland area pursuing post-secondary edu...