Alberta was the first province in Canada to set a methane emissions target for the oil and gas sector, committing to reducing these emissions by 45 per cent from 2014 levels by 2025. The province’s methane reduction approach has won international awards and recognition.
According to the latest methane report from the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta officially achieved its target as of 2022 – three years ahead of schedule. This milestone was accomplished through collaboration with industry and a province-led approach that has proven more effective and cheaper than earlier proposed federal methane regulations that would have otherwise been applied in Alberta.
“In Alberta, we are transitioning away from emissions and not away from oil and gas. We have proven we have the technology, the innovation, and the determination to achieve significant emissions reduction and we will not stop here. Alberta has a strong story to tell on environmental challenges and we will continue to share it.”
Under Alberta’s equivalency agreement with the Government of Canada on methane emissions, the province is in charge of regulating methane emissions. Without the agreement, both provincial and federal regulations would apply, increasing red tape and imposing additional costs onto Alberta’s energy sector.
Alberta hit its methane reduction target early by working closely with industry, including early action programs like carbon offsets, implementation of strong provincial regulatory requirements in place for all facilities, and improved leak detection and repair. This approach was estimated to have saved industry approximately $600 million compared to the federal approach, while still accelerating emissions reduction.
“We have hit our methane emissions reduction target three years early thanks to a common-sense, made-in-Alberta approach. Managing emissions from our oil and gas industry is our job, not Ottawa’s – and we are getting the job done.”
Since 2020, Alberta has invested $57 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction fund for methane emissions programs that help the oil and gas industry improve monitoring and management, including:
- $25 million for the Methane Technology Implementation Program that offered a rebate to companies for purchasing emissions reduction equipment.
- $17 million for the Alberta Methane Emissions Program to support investigating and testing alternative approaches to detect and quantify fugitive and vented emissions.
- $15 million for the Baseline and Reduction Opportunity Assessment Program to support small and medium oil and gas operators conduct detailed assessments of methane reduction opportunities and fugitive emissions.
This momentum will continue through Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan. Moving forward, Alberta will advance new approaches to enhanced regulations, market-based incentives and programs to further reduce methane emissions to help reach carbon neutral by 2050 and protect Alberta’s oil and gas sector from intrusive federal methane regulations.
“The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is pleased with today’s announcement that the province’s methane reduction target from oil and natural gas operations has been met ahead of schedule. Alberta’s approach with effective regulations, offset programs, and research support contributed to accelerating methane emissions reductions. Over the past decade, our industry has reduced methane emissions while growing production and is also on track to surpass the current federal target of a 40 to 45 percent reduction by 2025. We are investing significant resources into research and will continue to work with the provincial government on additional emissions reduction opportunities.”
The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of oil, oil sands, natural gas, coal resources, geothermal, and brine-hosted mineral resources in Alberta. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans. Alberta’s government and the regulator continue to ensure methane emissions monitoring meets regulatory requirements and are both committed to transparent reporting of results.
There are a number of international efforts to support improvements to methane emissions measurement, monitoring and reporting. As Alberta participates in the upcoming 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties in Dubai, connections will be made with other leading jurisdictions and international groups to share knowledge and expertise that will support continuous improvement in methane emissions data quality in Alberta, and around the world.
- Alberta was the first oil and gas producing jurisdiction to put requirements on emissions from flaring, starting in the early 1990s.
- Alberta’s approach to reducing methane emissions from flaring, venting and fugitives is an international best practice used by other jurisdictions, and has won national and international awards.
- By the end of 2022, relevant Alberta carbon offset protocols resulted in more than 58,000 low or no-bleed devices being installed, and more than 7 million offset credits have been serialized.
- The Alberta Energy Regulator monitors, compiles and reports methane emissions data by facility type, production type, and area. It releases the ST60B report annually to ensure the public and stakeholders have the latest information about methane emissions from Alberta’s oil and gas sector.