The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors represents a wide variety of members in the drilling and service rig sector of the Canadian oil and gas industry. From small, one rig companies to large, multi-national organizations, CAOEC members are committed to demonstrating world-class environmental standards wherever they operate.

Read our White Paper: Leading Collaboration Through the Energy Transition


Over the years, many technological advancements have been made that have allowed both drilling and service rigs to reduce their environmental impact, while improving their technical performance and reducing their operating costs. These advancements are driven by the need to remain competitive and meet customer demand, while also upholding a committment to environmental stewardship.

Fortunately, what is good for business is also good for the environment, good for employees and their families, and good for the communities around the globe in which our members operate.


Existing Technologies Currently Deployed

1. High-Line Power

Connecting the drilling rig to grid power reduces GHGs, noise, and truck traffic because diesel generators are not required.
Assumptions: Electrical grid intensity varies across Canada, with British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan having grid intensities of 18.6, 620, and 660 g-CO2eq/kWh, respectively.
Results: 98%, 21%, and 16% GHG reduction for British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, respectively.


2. Crown Lighting

Crown lighting uses high-lumen LED lights that operate at the top of the drilling rig mast and utilize power from the rig. The equipment replaces six portable dieselpowered light towers around the lease. The cooler light colour promotes alertness on the work sites.
Assumptions: Typical light towers consume an average of 117 L diesel per day, emitting 0.33 tonnes CO2eq/day.
Results: 85% GHG reduction (light plant only) Air Quality and GHG Emissions technologies.


3. Natural Gas Generator and Batteries

This technology combines the benefits of the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) and natural gas generator technologies. In this case, the generators are fueled by natural gas, and the batteries provide the capability for load levelling.
Results: 31 – 40% GHG reduction.


4. Bi-Fuel and Batteries

This technology combines the benefits of cleaner natural gas fuel with the load levelling of batteries. Load levelling allows the generators to run at a lower, steady load with power stored in the batteries, at low demand, available to meet peak power requirements.
Results: 24% GHG reduction.


5. Natural Gas Generator

Replacing a diesel generator with a natural gas generator reduces GHG emissions, maintenance, and truck traffic.
Assumptions: Natural gas generators have emissions of 12.25 tonnes CO2eq/day and therefore reduce engine emissions by 3.44 tonnes CO2eq/day.
Results: 22 – 25%​ GHG reduction.


6. Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

When coupled with on-site generators, BESS will reduce the number of generators online (two instead of three, for example). In addition, charging the batteries increases the load on the engine, allowing it to run more efficiently. 
Assumptions: For diesel generators, BESS reduces diesel consumption from 5,632 L/day to 4,844 L/day.
Results: 14 – 20%​ GHG reduction.


7. Bi-Fuel Conversion

The equipment allows a diesel engine to burn diesel, natural gas, or a combination of the two. Dynamic gas blending (DGB) allows the engine to maximize the amount of natural gas used automatically. With DGB, up to 70% of the diesel can be replaced with natural gas.
Assumptions: A conservative 55% replacement of diesel reduces engine emission by 1.89 tonnes CO2eq/day.
Results: 12 – 15%​ GHG reduction.

CAOEC Members currently operate:

  • Rigs that run on natural gas, often taken directly from location, instead of diesel for a 27% reduction in emissions (or approximately 9,000 less litres of diesel per day). Additionally, these engines can be equipped with a three-way catalyst to significantly reduce NOx emissions. Natural gas can often be taken directly from the well head, reducing methane emissions at the source.

  • Hybrid drilling rigs are capable of achieving reductions of over 50% in emissions (15-25% less CO2, 80% less NOx and 90% less particulate matter) and 20% fuel savings.

  • Rigs that can be equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction technology, which is an advanced emissions control technology that injects a liquid reductant agent through special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine. Selective Catalytic Reduction technology is a means of converting NOx into nitrogen and water, ultimately reducing NOx emissions.

  • Rigs that are capable of drawing power from local electricity grids in place of diesel or natural gas.

  • Tier 4 Engines: Currently, Tier 4 diesel engine standards are the strictest EPA emissions requirement for off-highway diesel engines. This requirement regulates the amount of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emitted from an off-highway diesel engine. Tier 4 regulations began in 2008, and are determined based on an engine’s horsepower rating. By the time final Tier 4 regulations were fully implemented in 2015, PM and NOx emissions had been reduced 99% compared to 1996 levels.

  • Integrated Power & Emissions Monitoring Systems that provide environmental insights as they occur, monitoring fuel consumption (diesel and natural gas), power generation KPIs and real-time GHG emissions. Measurements may be extended to boilers, refueling stations and flare lines with a comprehensive power and emissions report. 



CAOEC Members employ many different technologies and techniques to minimize land use, such as:

  • PAD and “walking” drilling rigs can drill multiple wells from a single location, eliminating the need to clear additional land.

  • Rig design has improved by reducing the amount of buildings and associated equipment needed for a full rig set up both in terms of quantity and size.

  • Innovative techniques for noise reduction from sound insulation, to automated power/load adjustments, to fully enclosing a rig to minimize noise and disturbance in sensitive areas.

  • Innovative automation and optimization techniques to ensure maximum operating efficiencies.

Energy Transformation

Canada’s energy industry is known for its expertise in responsible development and environmental excellence, and with its tools, technology, and technical know-how, continues to play a leading role through the development of emerging resources. 

CAOEC members drill for both oil and natural gas, and are working on a number of exciting projects as part of Canada’s energy transformation, including drilling for geothermal energy, helium, potash, lithium, natural gas which can be made into hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects. 


Operational Processes

CAOEC members are continuously developing operational processes that reduce environmental impact such as spill response and prevention procedures, noise reduction techniques, hazardous waste handling and storage protocols, and fuel use strategies.

While the finer details of these techniques can be proprietary, CAOEC members, through their volunteer committee involvement, openly share and develop industry best practices. This affords members with less capacity for developing new or comprehensive procedures the opportunity to learn from and adopt industry leading ideas.

Additionally, CAOEC members have created and administer some of the most comprehensive training tools and techniques in the world. Rig personnel are highly skilled technical experts operating multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art equipment in what amounts to a small, mobile business unit. Innovative approaches to teaching skill sets that involve technical expertise, leadership, business management, and more, are developed and refined by Canada's drilling and service rig companies

Industry Collaboration

CAOEC's Sectoral Operation Committees (SOCs) are the lifeblood of the organization. Sectoral Operation Committees have two primary purposes. The first is to investigate and exchange valuable information about current and future risks and opportunities within the membership. The second is to take direction from the Sectoral Executive Committees and help execute CAOEC's operational priorities.

The following provides details on a few of CAOEC's Sectoral Operations Committees and the activities they perform:

Engineering & Technical Committee

  • Standardize the methodology surrounding the inspection, repair and certification of equipment;

  • Recommend amendments to legislation that benefit members;

  • Provide a forum for mutual assistance to fellow members in applying the principles of equipment inspection, repair and certification;

  • Provide communications support as it pertains to engineering and technical issues;

  • Provide consensus on issues that affect member companies and their employees in the areas of equipment inspection, repair and certification;

  • Develop Recommended Practices as required; and

  • Review, revise, reaffirm or withdraw current Recommended Practices every three (3) years.

Transportation Committee

  • Monitor and review industry transportation practices and regulations;

  • Recommend amendments to legislation that benefit members;

  • Provide a forum for mutual assistance to fellow members in applying the principles of safe transportation;

  • Provide consensus on issues that affect members and their employees in the areas of safe transportation;

  • Develop information bulletins and stakeholder communications; and

  • Provide communications support as it pertains to transportation issues.

Health, Safety & Training Committee

  • Report on health, safety and training strategies and recommendations;

  • Coordinate industry input on health, safety and training policies and initiatives, including interfacing with the appropriate regulators as needed;

  • Make recommendations on industry priorities to improve safety performance;

  • Promote engagement and consistency on health, safety and training issues; and

  • Actively support Energy Safety Canada (ESC) as the industry’s leading advocate and leading resource for continuous improvement of safety performance.


Representation on External Committees

Drilling & Completions Committee (DACC)

The DACC is responsible for the development of recommended technical operating practices for the upstream oil and gas industry in the areas of drilling, completions and servicing of wells. The primary focus of DACC is to develop sector recommended practices (IRPs), where the objectives include cost efficiencies, optimization, productivity, safety and environmental performance.

Energy Safety Canada 

The CAOEC is an owner of Energy Safety Canada (ESC) and influences its strategic and operational priorities. Moreover, it has representation on the ESC Board of Directors, the Advisory Councils (British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan), and the Safety Standards Council (SSC).

Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN)

The CRIN is a network of industry professionals, universities, research institutions, governments, and innovators committed to the success of the hydrocarbon energy sector.

ESG Resources

Partnerships in Injury Reduction

Partnerships in Injury Reduction is a voluntary program in which employer and worker representatives work collaboratively with government to build effective health and safety management systems. By improving health and safety, the social and financial costs of workplace injury and illness are reduced.

Partnerships in Injury Reduction Certificate of Recognition (COR)

The Partnerships in Injury Reduction program awards Certificates of Recognition (CORs) to employers that have developed a health and safety management system and met established standards.

As part of CAOEC membership agreements, Drilling and Service Rig members must obtain Certificates of Recognition from Partnerships in Injury Reduction.


Community Engagement

CAOEC members are active participants in the communities in which they operate. Corporate giving programs, volunteerism, First Nations partnerships, mentorship programs, scholarship programs, and career development are just some of the initiatives CAOEC members undertake regularly. The Calgary Food Bank, United Way, STARS Air Ambulance, Inn from the Cold, The Mustard Seed, and Brown Bagging For Calgary's Kids are just a few of the organizations our members contribute to every year. 

For specific CAOEC member company ESG information, please visit individual member websites by searching our MEMBER DIRECTORY.

Additional Resources

Energy Safety Canada: Common Safety Orientation (CSO)

Energy Safety Canada: Life Saving Rules

Position Paper: Canada's Energy Contractors: Leading the Energy Evolution

White Paper: Leading Collaboration Through the Energy Transition

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