Lab Canada

New research chair to examine ways for energy industry to limit impact on ecosystems

Calgary, AB – EnCana Corporation and the University of Calgary have created a new research chair called the EnCana Chair in Canadian Plains Mitigation and Reclamation. The new position in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary will investigate innovative ways for the energy industry to limit its impact on ecosystems in Western Canada. EnCana has committed $1 million to support the research chair over the next five years.

“We’re pleased to have EnCana’s support for this important research,” says Loraine Fowlow, interim-dean for the Faculty of Environmental Design. “North American plains habitat faces a number of disturbances from human use, including that from oil and gas exploration. EnCana is showing leadership by providing a dedicated research position to focus on the challenge of reclaiming industrial sites to allow the return of prairie ecosystem components.”

Research will increase understanding of the direct and indirect effects of oil and gas activity on the environment. That knowledge will assist the chair in developing improved mitigation and reclamation activities for oil and gas producers.

The chair will study topics such as the effectiveness of mitigation measures, including setback distances and timing restrictions, for species at risk. Research will also explore the effects of fragmentation, including whether alternative methods of construction and reclamation can facilitate the return of the landscape to equivalent land capacity.

There will be an open, international search for the research chair, and the researcher will have the flexibility and independence to explore practices across multiple companies to gather an encompassing perspective in order to develop best practices for the industry as a whole.