Canadian Natural Resources

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Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Type Public company
Traded as TSXCNQ
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Oil and gas
Founded Calgary, Alberta (1973)
Headquarters Calgary, Alberta
Key people Steve Laut, President
Tim S. Mckay, COO
Murray Edwards, chairman of the board
Products Petrochemical products
Revenue $16.195 billion CAD (2012, before royalties)[1]
Employees 6,671 (Dec 2013)

Canadian Natural Resources Limited, or CNRL or Canadian Natural, is an oil and gas exploration, development and production company with its corporate head office in Calgary, Alberta. Along with its core area Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB),[2], CNRL also has North Sea and offshore West Africa fields. By 2011, with a production of 121,000 barrels (19,200 m3), CNRL was Canada's largest oil company and Canada's "single biggest conventional heavy oil producer."[3] By 2009 CNRL ranked number 251 on the Forbes Global 2000 list.[4]

CNRL is one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in the world, with its head office in Calgary, and operations focused in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin,[notes 1][2] the North Sea and offshore West Africa.


Corporate Headquarters resides in Calgary, Alberta. It operates field offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan as well as international offices in Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire and Aberdeen, Scotland.

Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB)[edit]

Canadian Natural has the largest undeveloped base in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). CNRL's North America assets include "conventional and unconventional natural gas, along with projects in crude oil, including primary, secondary and tertiary light, medium and heavy production, in situ oil sands, and oil sands mining"[5]

Heavy Crude Oil[edit]

Canadian Natural is the "largest primary heavy crude oil producer in Canada."[6]

Pelican Lake[edit]

CNRL's leading edge polymer flood at Pelican Lake pool contains 4.1 billion barrels of heavy crude oil initially in place and delivered a strong response in 2012."[6]

Horizon Oil Sands[edit]

See main article Horizon Oil Sands

Canadian Natural's largest operation to date is the Horizon Oil Sands project which is located 75km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

CNRL"s Primrose field produced to "99,000 barrels per day"[2] Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO) in 2012, c.100,000 to 107,000 barrels per day in 2013[7] and expects to "add value for decades."[2] Canadian Natural Resources Limited is an oil and gas exploration, development and production company centered in Calgary, Alberta. Canadian Natural uses the Kirby South Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) extraction[2] method including both the cyclical[notes 2] and steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technologies the Primrose and Wolf Lake – Thermal in Situ located approximately 55 km north of Bonnyville.[5]

The Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.'s "operations use an "in situ" or underground extraction technology called cyclic steam stimulation, which involves injecting thousands of gallons of superhot, high-pressure steam into deep underground reservoirs. This heats and liquefies the hard bitumen and creates cracks through which the bitumen flows and is then pumped to the surface.[8][9] This is not a spill but a pipeline blowout due to the cyclic steam stimulation extraction method.[10] By June 29 the Canadian Natural Resources claimed the "oil and water leak" at Primrose "affected four hectares of slough."[7]

On 24 June 2013 CNRL noticed a "mixture of heavy oil and water was discovered on Monday near Pad 22 on its Primrose thermal in situ oilsands project located on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range."[7] On 27 June 2013, the Alberta Energy Regulator's press release described it as a "release of bitumen emulsion to surface at a high pressure cyclic steam project" in an "off lease area that has impacted a nearby slough." The AER and the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development are monitoring the release and investigating the cause.[11] Clean-up began in May 2013.[10] In July 2013 the Alberta Energy Regulator told the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to stop injecting steam into the ground near Cold Lake after a series of four spills.[10][12] They have been "unable to stop an underground oil blowout that has killed numerous animals and contaminated a lake, forest, and muskeg at its operations in Cold Lake, Alta. The documents indicate that, since cleanup started in May, some 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water have been removed, including more than 4,500 barrels of bitumen."[8] The 2013 incident appeared to be similar to one that occurred at Primrose on 3 January 2009.[7]

AER president and CEO Jim Ellis[13][14] jointly presented the findings of the June 2014 report[15] submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and Alberta Environment, entitled Primrose Flow to Surface Causation Report based on research by "an independent third party technical review panel" regarding a series of four leaks in the spring of 2013 in the south and east sections of CNRL's Primrose project. The leaks were caused by four "enabling factors" that "enabled or significantly increased the probability of a flow-to-surface event."[13] It was not caused by a mechanical failure but by CNRL's design flaw including CNRL's injection of "large volumes of steam at fracture pressure in closely spaced wells." CNRL uses high pressure cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) which involves "steaming for a period of months to mobilize the heavy oil" prior to pumped the bitumen to the surface.[13] Another cause is the "failure of old well bores in the area."


In 1989, CNRL was an oil and natural gas company operating only in Alberta which employed 9 people, produced about 1,400 barrels (220 m3) of oil equivalent per day and had a market capitalization of about $1 million. Through growth and acquisitions, it has grown to approximately 5000 employees, production of over 565,000 barrels (89,800 m3) of oil equivalent per day and a market capitalization of approximately $40 billion.


Canadian Natural's common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CNQ and under the Toronto Stock Exchange as CNQ and CNQ.U which denotes trading in US funds.

Corporate governance[edit]

Canadian Natural is a limited liability, publicly traded corporation. Current members of the board of directors are: Catherine M. Best, N. Murray Edwards, Honourable Gary A. Filmon, Ambassador Gordon D. Giffin, John G. Langille, Steve W. Laut, Keith A.J. MacPhail, Honourable Frank J. McKenna, James S. Palmer, Eldon R. Smith and David A. Tuer.


  1. ^ Of the provinces and territories within the WCSB, Alberta has most of the oil and gas reserves and almost all of the oil sands.
  2. ^ The Primrose project uses "CSS or cyclic steam stimulation, also called "huff and puff," where steam is injected under pressure into the formation to melt the heavy, sticky oil, then shut off while the warmed oil is pumped out. Then the process is repeated."



External links[edit]