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New methane rules aim to cut emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector

New methane rules aim to cut emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector


CALGARY — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:30AM EDT

Last updated Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:52AM EDT

New rules to reduce methane emissions and air pollution from Canada’s oil and natural gas industry are coming down the pipe.

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced new regulations in Calgary Thursday morning. Ottawa’s pan-Canadian climate change plan includes a goal of reducing methane emissions by 40 per cent to 45 per cent by 2025.

Government officials say that as a result of these rule changes, the value of conserved gas from 2018 to 2035 could hit $1.6-billion – alongside billions in avoided climate change damage costs. The costs to the oil and gas industry over the same time frame are pegged at $3.3-billion.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas, used to heat homes and run industrial factories, and is released into the air through natural-gas processing, transmission and oil production. The new regulations will cover more than 95 per cent of industry methane emission sources, according to government officials. Methane emission limits are being proposed in areas including equipment leaks, venting, pneumatic devices, compressors and well completions.

The government is also proposing new regulations to curb the release of volatile organic compounds from oil and gas sites, including petrochemical facilities, refineries and oil sands upgraders.

The regulations are expected to come into force between 2020 and 2023. But the government said it will continue to consult with provinces, territories, industry, environmental groups and indigenous groups on the proposed changes in the months ahead, before the new regulations come into force.