A report released by the Government of Alberta (GoA) in January shows the natural gas and oil industry is on track to achieve the province’s methane emissions reduction target. The industry target is to reduce methane by 45 per cent from 2012 emission levels by 2025.
Progress Towards Reducing methane Emissions
This is the first annual report following progress toward reducing methane emissions across the province. Data shows the upstream natural gas and oil sector reduced methane emissions by about 34 per cent between 2014 (the year the reduction target was established) and 2020. This exceptional progress has been driven by a combination of regulation, carbon markets and funding programs, plus existing and new ways to detect emissions, and technologies to improve equipment such as valves that can be sources of leaks. Improved data gathering and management to accurately monitor and report emissions is also part of the program.
Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks said, “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 while increasing natural gas production and the societal benefits that come from growing our resources.”
Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, commented, “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.”
Read more: The Alberta methane field challenge
Cleantech is the key
Enabling technology, innovation, and research are key to Alberta’s methane emissions reduction. Using funds from the industry-supported Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, the GoA provides support for methane technology and innovation approaches across the energy sector. Examples programs to support technology and innovation related to methane emissions reductions include:
- Methane Technology Implementation Program – $25-million program to support installation of readily available methane reduction technologies at conventional oil and natural gas facilities
- Baseline and Reduction Opportunity Assessment Program – $15-million program to support small and medium-sized oil and gas operators to conduct detailed assessments of methane reduction opportunities and fugitive emissions.
- Alberta Methane Emissions Program – $17-million to support investigating and testing alternative approaches to detection and quantification of fugitive and vented emissions.
- Emissions Reduction Alberta and Alberta Innovates – various methane emission detection and reduction projects.
In addition, a number of industry organizations are very involved in facilitating collaboration and funding for research and development of new technologies to reduce emissions, including the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC).