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. 70% of provincial methane emissions and 25% of all emissions come from the upstream oil and gas sector.
Over 85% of methane emissions come from pneumatic devices, fugitive emissions, and venting.
Three 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
- an offset protocol for engine fuel management and vent gas capture projects
Getting to 2025
Cutting methane emissions is a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Alberta Energy Regulator’s directives – along with other developments such as advances in technology – are designed to help Alberta reach its previously established methane emissions target.
The province is working to reduce methane emissions from upstream oil and gas operations using the following approaches:
- Applying new emissions design standards to new Alberta facilities. Applying standards at the planning stage will be less expensive for industry.
- Improving measurement and reporting of methane emissions, as well as leak detection and repair requirements.
- Collaborating with industry, environmental and Indigenous groups on methane reduction and verification for existing facilities, and backstopping this with regulated standards that take effect in 2020.
Implementation of the new oil and gas methane standards is being led by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), in collaboration with the Alberta government.
Development of directives
The AER, in collaboration with the Alberta government, developed Directives 060 and 017 to deliver Alberta’s methane emissions target. The directives were developed collaborating with industry, environmental non-government organizations, and the general public.