The climate change impact of methane is significant — 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.
In Alberta, the oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions. Methane emissions in 2014 from Alberta’s oil and gas sector were 31.4 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. This accounted for 70% of provincial methane emissions and 25% of all emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector.
48% of these methane emissions are from direct venting or venting from equipment, 46% comes from fugitive emissions or leaks, and the remaining 6% are from flaring or other sources.
Two carbon offset protocols exist now to support methane reductions in the oil and gas sector:
an offset protocol to encourage converting existing pneumatic equipment to highly efficient options
an offset protocol for solution gas conservation
Getting to 2025
Cutting methane emissions is the most cost-effective way to accelerate greenhouse gas reductions.
Alberta will reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations by 45 percent by 2025 using the following approaches:
Applying new emissions design standards to new Alberta facilities. Applying standards at the planning stage will be less expensive.
Improving measurement and reporting of methane emissions, as well as leak detection and repair requirements.
Developing a joint initiative on methane reduction and verification for existing facilities, and backstopping this with regulated standards that take effect in 2020, to ensure the 2025 target is met. This initiative will include Alberta industry, environmental groups and Indigenous communities.
Implementation of the new oil and gas methane standards will be led by the Alberta Energy Regulator, in collaboration with Alberta Energy and the Alberta Climate Change Office.
Alberta’s reduction target and timeline match the commitments recently announced by the Canadian and American federal governments and are consistent with our approach of protecting our economic competitiveness through alignment with North American environmental standards.