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Trailblazing methane research to help reduce emissions by 2025

A first-of-its-kind research project focuses on improving the detection and elimination of methane leaks that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s called the Fugitive Emissions Management Program Effectiveness Assessment (FEMP EA), and it’s taking place across 2,500 square kilometres in central Alberta. Thirty producing companies and nearly 200 oil and gas facilities are participating in the research.

While previous studies provided methane emission snapshots, none have spent the time or money needed to effectively research emissions over longer periods of time. This research aims to answer questions that will help lower greenhouse gas emissions in an economically responsible manner.

“This first-of-its-kind project is a remarkable step forward in enabling our industry to obtain accurate data to reduce its methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025,” says Soheil Asgarpour, President, PTAC, in a statement.

Major industry associations including the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada are partners in the project. They believe the research will lead to significant emission cuts.

“We consider the FEMP EA project to be foundational. The detailed knowledge of methane emissions from a large number of facilities, measured repeatedly over a 12 month period, will allow us to evaluate new and innovative detection, quantification, and control technologies, which could allow us to find and reduce methane releases faster and at lower costs,” said Wayne Hillier, Alberta Manager of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Methane is both a component of natural gas and a potent GHG if released into the atmosphere. The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change agreement includes a commitment for Canada’s oil and natural gas industry to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025.

This research was launched through the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund — a collaboration between the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Energy Regulator, and more than 400 oil and natural gas producers. The technical team performing the work includes representatives from Stanford University, Cap-Op Energy, Davis Safety, and DXD Consulting.

The year-long project is expected to be complete in August 2019.

Additional reading:

Methane 101: What is methane, and why does it matter?

PTAC: Nurturing oil and natural gas innovation

The Methane Research Project By The Numbers

  • 100 studies by Stanford University have informed the design and objectives of this research.
  • 30 producing companies are participating in the research.
  • 200 oil and natural gas facilities are participating in the research.
  • 400-plus oil and natural gas producers are helping to fund the research.
  • 45 per cent reduction of methane emissions by 2025 is a goal set by government for Canada’s oil and natural gas industry.