In the province’s first progress report on methane emissions reductions from Alberta’s oil and gas sector, data shows that methane emissions from these operations decreased by about 34 per cent between 2014 and 2020.
Based on these estimates, Alberta will meet its target to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45 per cent from 2014 levels by 2025.
Developing practical emissions-reducing technology to create jobs and diversify the economy is a key part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
“Alberta is making remarkable headway on cutting methane emissions through our real-world approach and strong provincial requirements. By focusing on tangible results, Alberta is reducing methane in our atmosphere while increasing natural gas production and the societal benefits that come from growing our resources.”
“Alberta’s energy industry continues to be a leader in emissions reductions while also striving to meet growing global demand for responsibly produced and reliable energy. These results show how seriously the sector takes emission reductions and how a combination of technology, innovation and collaboration will help our province and all of Canada meet its climate goals.”
Funding for methane programs
Investing in technology, innovation and scientific research are central to Alberta’s approach to reducing methane emissions. Alberta offers a number of programs that are helping the oil and gas sector improve methane emissions monitoring and management, including the Baseline and Reduction Opportunity Assessment Program. Due to high interest and uptake, Alberta’s government is adding $5 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund to this $10-million program. This brings Alberta’s total TIER fund commitment for oil and gas sector methane programs to $57 million.
“Alberta’s methane emissions mitigation performance has been driven by a combination of regulation, carbon markets and funding programs. These initiatives dramatically improve data systems, which in turn inform project decisions. Further, while investment in emerging technology continues, our energy sector is already supported by a suite of readily available clean technologies and service providers. This combination of factors ensures Alberta is on track to meet its emissions reduction ambitions, and we look forward to continuing to support this journey.”
“The Alberta Energy Regulator is responsible for ensuring that oil and gas companies meet our regulatory requirements to reduce methane emissions. To hold companies accountable, the Alberta Energy Regulator reports on industry progress toward reducing methane emissions. This allows company-to-company comparisons to further drive performance.”
Milestone methane agreement
Alberta’s equivalency agreement with the Government of Canada on methane emissions came into force in 2020. This agreement keeps Alberta in charge of regulating methane emissions. Without it, both provincial and federal regulations would apply in Alberta, increasing red tape and imposing additional costs onto Alberta’s energy sector.
“Alberta’s significant methane emission reductions is an outstanding achievement made possible through massive collaboration among producers, government organizations, the Alberta Energy Regulator, technology providers and academia. PTAC is proud that working with Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Innovates has contributed to reducing methane emissions through field deployment of 21 technologies, in which up to 75 per cent of the cost of equipment and installation was covered to give producers first-hand experience with emerging technologies. PTAC and Clean Resources Innovation Network are glad to continue supporting the oil and gas innovation ecosystem by turning challenges into opportunities.”
“The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada and its members are committed to reducing methane emissions from upstream oil and natural gas operations. Today's announcement is proof that those efforts and government policy are working. A large part of this success is directly attributable to the TIER program and the support to develop made-in-Alberta solutions to tackle emissions. EPAC will continue to work with the government to meet the province's 2025 targets and realize further emissions reductions.”
- The progress report is for the 2020 reporting year.
- The report fulfils the reporting requirements of the methane equivalency agreement between Alberta and Canada.
- The climate change impact of methane is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.
- The oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions in Alberta.