Report: Venting And Flaring Emissions Fall Sharply In Canada
From 1990 to 2018, data show that the oil and natural gas industry saw declines of 49 percent and 43 percent for venting and flaring emissions, respectively.
Meanwhile, fugitive emissions – or emissions from leaks or other unintended releases – fell by an incredible 59 percent. During this same time period, the report explains that Canada’s oil production increased by 170 percent.
The ability to reduce these emissions, while simultaneously increasing production is a testament to the industry’s commitment to improving its environmental footprint.
Flaring Reductions Across Provinces
Canada’s top oil-producing province, Alberta, has led the rest of the country in emissions reductions from venting and flaring.
From 1996 to 2010, natural gas flaring was reduced by 80 percent, resulting in a reduction of more than eight million tonnes of GHG emissions.
Neighboring province British Columbia has also drastically reduced flaring — since 2006 the oil and natural gas industry has reduced flaring by more than 23 percent.
Reductions are seen across the board for all of Canada’s provinces and are closely monitored by seven regulating agencies.
Canada’s efforts to reduce emissions from flaring are evident when compared to other energy-producing countries. Among the world’s top 30 highest flaring nations, Canada is ranked 20th in terms of volume of gas flared per year.
Furthermore, when compared on a flaring intensity basis, which is the relationship between oil production and flaring, Canada ranks in the bottom three of per barrel of oil produced.
Commitment to Responsible Development
The Canadian oil and natural gas industry is committed to reducing emissions and is recognized as one of the world’s leading producing nations for its environmental performance as a result.
Alberta-based oil and gas company Modern Resources is transitioning natural gas and oil sites to near-zero methane emissions.
Since the majority of well sites lack access to power, they depend on methane emissions to power their valves, which is then released.
Modern Resources is innovating to take self-powered emissions out of the equation, by implementing Modern Ultra-Low Emission (MULE).
The new technology, which utilizes an electric pump instead of a natural gas-powered pneumatic pump, has dramatically decreased the level of methane emissions.
The numbers explain it all: three well pads on a natural gas site equipped with MULE technology led to a reduction of 1,743 metric tonnes of CO2 per year.
Likewise, three wells on an oil site led to a reduction of 1,036 metric tones of CO2. Together, that’s a reduction of GHG emissions equivalent to taking approximately 600 cars off the road.
Modern Resources’ Senior Facilities Engineer Jim Strange says the company is echoing the industry’s progress towards reducing GHG emissions:
“Modern Resources may be a small piece of the oil and gas sector in Canada, but MULE shows that as a company and an industry, we are progressive and we care about the environment. When you look at the emissions we’re saving with our well packages and multiply it by thousands of production facilities across the country, our small contribution could make a huge difference if all of industry gets on board.”
Engineers and project managers at Shell Canada are redesigning well pads at oil and natural gas sites to drive methane emissions down.
Similar to the technology used by Modern Resources, Shell Canada began deploying zero-bleeding electric actuators.
After their implementation, the newly designed well pads remove 90 percent more GHG emissions:
“The results have prompted a focus on what we can do next. Now that we’ve removed 90 per cent or more of greenhouse gas emissions from the well pad, how can we generate electricity more efficiently for off grid pads that aren’t connected with BC Hydro? It’s hard to tackle everything at once, but our success has given us confidence and built momentum to keep innovating.”
Despite year-over-year energy production growth, the oil and gas industry continues to drive down GHG emissions at the production site.
Emissions data from flaring and venting are evidence of the industry’s success—with new technologies industry leaders have reduced the release of methane from oil and gas wells dramatically.
Read more at EID Climate
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