The word muskeg comes from a Cree word meaning “low lying marsh”. Muskeg is basically made of decomposing plants, resting right on the water table. The muskeg areas of western Canada are home to a wide variety of birds and animals. Underground, these areas are also rich in oil and gas resources.
As you might imagine, muskeg is near impossible to drive, work or even stand on, unless it’s completely frozen. As a result, permanent roads are rare in these and other remote areas. So how does the industry access oil and gas resources while protecting environmentally sensitive landscapes like muskeg?
One way is with matting. Mats are interlocking boards laid over sensitive areas to build temporary roads and well sites. Matting provides a safe, strong and stable working platform over virtually any type of terrain. And matting is temporary. When the job is done, the mats are pulled up. Since the mats interlock without nails or pins, there’s no chance of leaving anything behind. With very little disturbance to the local environment, the area can be quickly and efficiently reclaimed.
Besides protecting environmentally sensitive terrain and increasing access to remote areas, matting also protects workers. Matting increases traction for vehicles and equipment, and supports the heavy loads common in the oil and gas industry. Entire well sites can be built of mats.
Secure matting also reduce the chances of slips, trips and falls for workers, by making well site walking surfaces cleaner, flatter and smoother.
Matting is one of the oil and gas industry’s simplest and most effective innovations. With matting, we can protect people, animals and the environment, while safely accessing the energy resources Canadians rely on.