In the contentious and often polarized debate around energy issues, Canadians now have a new online tool to get the facts about liquefied natural gas (LNG), a fuel that is set to become the second leading energy source worldwide by 2040.
Oil and gas sector asked to cut methane and air pollution with new regulations
Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has announced regulations to reduce methane emissions and air pollution from Canada's oil and gas sector. In doing so, Canada is moving to catch up on the action already taken by states such as California, Colorado, and North Dakota. These regulations are part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2025.
According to the federal government, Canada's oil and gas sector is the country's largest emitter of climate-warming methane gas and a source of air pollutants known as volatile organic compounds, some of which are toxic to human health and are contributors to smog.
Methane is the main part of natural gas that is used to heat homes and power factories. The proposed regulations will help Canada's oil and gas industry to conserve valuable natural gas that is now wasted and certain facilities, such as refineries, to reduce their volatile organic compound emissions.
"These regulations will help producers save over $1.5 billion worth of natural gas between 2018 and 2035. By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save and sell that natural gas and do their part to fight climate change," McKenna stated. "And this will support more modern technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector. Our government knows that, through innovation and technology, we can reduce emissions while improving the health of Canadians."
Reducing methane emissions is one of the lowest cost actions Canada can take to reduce greenhouse gases. With these regulations, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by about 20 megatonnes a year, equal to removing about five million passenger vehicles from the road each year. Furthermore, this will help Canada to avoid the economic impact of global climate-change events such as drought and floods.
Businesses expected to create new clean-tech jobs
Canadian businesses are part of this global shift towards a clean-growth economy. Using affordable and proven technologies to reduce pollution will create new clean-technology jobs for Canadians in the oil and gas industry. There are already over 170 Canadian companies providing clean-technology services, and they will hire more workers as these regulations are phased in.
These proposed regulations will provide better air quality for Canadians living and working near certain oil and gas facilities. Cleaner air leads to healthier Canadians and fewer hospital visits for those with existing health conditions, like asthma and heart-related issues.
"Reducing exposure to volatile organic compounds, a major contributor to air pollution, is important for protecting the health and safety of Canadians,' stated Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. "The Government of Canada is taking concrete action with the proposed regulations, which will reduce air pollution and make communities healthier for Canadians to live in. This initiative supports efforts to reduce the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution—estimated at 14 500 each year, in Canada."
Under Canada's proposed approach, provinces and territories will have the flexibility to develop their own regulations to replace the federal ones if they can achieve similar outcomes. Canada remains committed to working with the provinces to establish equivalency agreements to avoid duplication.
The Government of Canada is supporting this growth, through Budget 2017, by committing $200 million to support clean-technology research, development, and demonstration and adoption of clean technology in Canada's natural resources sectors. This investment builds on nearly $5 million in funding from Budget 2016 to help companies facilitate cost-effective methane mitigation through the Energy Innovation Program.
Quick facts: Proposed methane regulations
- Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for about 25 percent of the human-caused global warming we feel today, and it packs 84 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
- The amount of natural gas that will be conserved as a result of these regulations will be greater than the amount of natural gas used in all the homes in the province of Saskatchewan, in a given year.
- This conserved gas is worth $1.6 billion. These savings help cover compliance costs for oil and gas companies.
- Between 2018 and 2035, it's estimated that the industry will have to spend less than three cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas to comply with the new regulations.
- Canada's proposed methane regulations will be phased in between 2020 and 2023.
- The proposed methane regulations will also reduce emissions of harmful volatile organic compounds from oil and gas.
- Internationally, Canada is sharing its wealth of expertise, innovation, and clean technology to help developing countries achieve their climate-change goals and reduce air pollution for a cleaner planet. Canada is currently co-chairing the Global Methane Initiative and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
- Canada is also making significant financial investments of $14 million to support the work of Canadian companies working on methane-emission reductions in Mexico and Chile. Canada is also working with Mexico to support its commitment to developing methane regulations for oil and gas.
Quick facts: Proposed air pollution regulations
- Canada has already made excellent progress in reducing volatile organic compound emissions through regulations for the transportation sector and industries outside of the oil and gas sector.
- In total, 26 refineries, oil sands upgraders, and petrochemical facilities would be affected by these regulations.
- Under the proposed regulations, companies would need to regularly check and repair leaks from their equipment, use cleaner technologies to minimize emissions, monitor emissions at their property line, and report the results to the Government of Canada.
- The Government of Canada estimates the proposed regulations would result in at least 40 fewer premature deaths from 2017 to 2035.
- The proposed air pollution regulations would have the secondary effect of reducing methane from oil and gas facilities.
More from Environmental
Canada's transition to low-emission energy sources is underway but it remains one of the most emission-intensive nations in the world, according to a new report released by the National Energy Board.
British Columbia's Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) has announced approval in principle for an agreement where FortisBC will purchase landfill gas from the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill to purify and inject the gas into its natural gas distribution system as Renewable Natural Gas (RNG).
MGX Minerals Inc. and engineering partner PurLucid Treatment Solutions are pleased to report a second deployment of an advanced wastewater treatment system is near completion and commissioning is expected shortly. The system is capable of processing up to 10 cubic metres per hour. The system will significantly reduce greenhouse gases through energy savings on steam generation. The technology provides superior treatment outcomes when compared to conventional technology which requires offsite trucking and high cost (due to toxicity) disposal.
BossTek has updated its family of self-powered dust suppression equipment with Tier IV Final-compliant generators, ensuring compliance in all 50 states and Canada. BossTek made the announcement with the debut of the new DustBoss DB-60 Fusion, a field-proven suppression system driven by a high-reliability 25 HP electric motor and paired with a gen set powered by a heavy-duty 4-cycle indirect injection diesel engine. Designed, engineered and assembled in the USA, the generator features a dual-containment fuel cell, heavy gauge lockable enclosure and oversized brushless alternator for easy starting.
As Canada transitions to a low-carbon future, investments in clean technology will support jobs for the middle class and improve clean air by reducing pollution.
The Joint Review Panel established to review the proposed Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project (the Project) and conduct an assessment of the environmental effects of the Project has determined that the proponent, Teck Resources Limited (Teck), has provided sufficient information for the Panel to hold a public hearing for the Project.
Cleansorb, a leading provider of chemical well treatments that enhance hydrocarbon production for the international oil and gas industry, is helping a major operator to enhance recovery from a maturing field offshore U.K.
Cutting back on Canada's biggest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will pose significant challenges for its oil and gas sector but is essential to making good on the country's commitment to fight climate change, the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources said in a new report.
Canadians understand that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy; creating good middle-class jobs; and taking action that ensures a safe climate, healthy environment, and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) has commenced a federal environmental assessment for the proposed Newfoundland Orphan Basin Exploration Drilling Project, located 350 kilometres east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, in the Atlantic Ocean.
Newalta Corporation and Tervita Corporation, a private Alberta-based energy-focused waste and environmental services company, are pleased to announce that they have entered into an arrangement agreement to combine their businesses and create a leading publicly traded energy-focused environmental solutions provider in Canada providing waste processing, treating, recycling and disposal services to customers in the oil and gas, mining and industrial sectors. The transaction, which will result in the merger of Newalta and Tervita under the name Tervita Corporation, is expected to provide significant scale, resources and future growth opportunities.
The government of B.C. is seeking input from British Columbians on its next steps to protect the province's land, coast and waters from oil spills.
The federal government is proposing new rules for the review of major projects, and a replacement of the National Energy Board with a new Energy Regulator to review energy-related projects.
Vertex Resource Group Ltd. has acquired the business of Sonic Oilfield Services Ltd., an environmental services company that provides pressure trucks, fluid hauling, chemical and KCL products in Saskatchewan. Sonic's well maintained fleet is used to serve the drilling, completions, production and facility needs of clients operating within Kindersley and Weyburn, Saskatchewan.
There are many challenges to managing landfill gas well field operation. QED Environmental Systems, a manufacturer of landfill liquid pumps and LFG control products, conducted a survey of landfill gas well field operators, asking them to report the most significant challenges they have encountered in the field. The most commonly reported challenges were odor control and maintaining compliance with landfill gas surface emission regulations. These issues were followed by a host of others, including avoiding NSPS exceedances for pressure, temperature, and oxygen, maximizing landfill gas (LFG) energy content, maintaining a steady vacuum across all wells, managing liquids to avoid accumulation in wells and system piping, and controlling air leaks at the wellhead, rubber couplings, and flex hoses. The challenges faced by LFG well field operators are numerous and diverse. However, LFG operators agree that all of the common challenges listed above can be summarized into one objective: to maximize gas collection efficiency while maintaining regulatory compliance, all at the lowest possible cost. With this singular objective in mind, let us review some LFG well field technologies and limitations.
Inventys, the developer of the VeloxoTherm Process, a carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system, is receiving $2.6M from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) through its Energy Innovation Program to support the development of a 30-tonne per day (TPD) CO2-capture pilot plant at Husky Energy's Pikes Peak South Lloyd thermal project.
Suncor has taken its first steps in the regulatory process to replace coke-fired boilers with two cogeneration units at its Oil Sands Base Plant as a part of its plan to remain globally cost and carbon competitive. In addition to providing the facility with steam needed for its operations, the cogeneration units are expected to export approximately 700 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the provincial grid, equivalent to roughly seven per cent of Alberta's current electricity demand.
As Canada transitions to a low-carbon future, investments in clean technology are building a stronger economy, creating new middle-class jobs and driving sustainable prosperity.
Cenovus Energy Inc. has been recognized once again for its corporate responsibility performance. The company has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the eighth consecutive year. Cenovus is one of only two Canadian oil and gas producers to make the index this year. Areas where the company scored well include stakeholder engagement, environmental reporting, water management, social reporting, risk and crisis management, biodiversity, corporate citizenship and philanthropy, climate strategy and corporate governance.
TransCanada Corporation's 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report provides a comprehensive update on the company's performance on environmental, social and governance topics that matter most to the communities, Indigenous groups and stakeholders involved with or affected by our business across North America.
Carbon pricing will help Canada reduce emissions but the reductions will fall short of the government's goal of a 30 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, according to a joint report by The Conference Board of Canada and The Canadian Academy of Engineering. Trillions of dollars in investment spending on clean energy infrastructure and significant changes to the way Canadians consume energy will be needed to achieve deep emission reductions.
According to the World Resources Institute, Bahrain is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world and will continue to be through at least 2040. To save as much water as possible in the production of oil and eliminate the need to deliver water via tanker truck, the Bahrain Petroleum Company B.S.C. (Bapco) is using GE's advanced mobile water technology to convert seawater into usable, highly pure source water at the Awali refinery.
Shell has launched a methane detector pilot at one of its shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, Canada. The pilot test is part of a wider multi-stakeholder initiative called the Methane Detectors Challenge, a partnership between Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), oil and gas companies, US government agencies and technology developers to test next generation methane detection technologies. The initiative aims to enable better early detection and repair of methane leaks, and ultimately reduce emissions. While detection technologies and processes are already in place across the oil and gas industry, more technical innovation is desired.
ProSep, a technology and service provider for integrated process solutions, has announced a major milestone achievement for one of its proprietary produced water treatments, Osorb Media, a revolutionary, re-generable, modified organo-silica used for polishing oilfield water and gas streams. ProSep has secured a multi-million dollar order for this water treatment system, which is a momentous breakthrough for this technology that has been in a developmental phase for the past seven years.
A recent offshore exercise, conducted by Oil Spill Response Ltd. (OSRL), was designed to understand how remote sensing technologies can help detect oil spills at sea more effectively. Utilizing the latest in satellite, airborne and in-water surveillance and communications equipment, the highly successful event demonstrated the value of the state-of-the-art technology in identifying and monitoring spills and was conducted with full approval of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) following a rigorous planning and stakeholder consultation process.
A new methane industry report by Blue Green Canada shows Alberta is far better off putting in place its own stronger provincial methane emissions regulations and adopting them right away rather than waiting until 2023 for the Federal government's draft methane regulations to come into effect.
Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL), Trendsetter Engineering and Halliburton have announced the companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for integrated subsea well-capping response solutions. With the MOU, the companies will create a strategic alliance for oil and gas exploration and production companies globally, covering integrated solutions for preparedness and response associated with subsea well control activities.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) welcomed Environment and Climate Change Canada's proposed commitment to reduce further methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the oil and natural gas sector, but disagrees with the federal government's assessment Canada needs to "catch up" with environmental policies in the United States.
When used for primary or secondary containment, traditional coatings have been too inflexible and not sufficiently elastic to accommodate ground, concrete or metal substrate movement. This deficiency can lead to cracks or holes developing in both the substrate and the coatings, which can compromise containment.
The Alberta government has introduced legislation that would allow it to lend the Orphan Well Association (OWA) $235 million to speed up proper abandonment and reclamation of a growing number of oil and gas well sites that no longer have a responsible owner. It's estimated this loan would lead to up to 1,650 new jobs in reclamation work over the next three years, reducing the liability facing the OWA by approximately one-third.
Federated Co-Operatives Limited’s Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina, Saskatchewan, was named Industrial Water Project of the Year at the annual Global Water Awards. The award recognizes the project, commissioned in 2016, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water.
Governments, investors and businesses must seize the opportunity to halve global carbon emissions by 2040 while ensuring economic development and energy access for all, but they must act now to accelerate clean electrification, decarbonization beyond power and energy productivity improvement, says the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).
Energy plays an important role in the daily lives of Canadians. It powers our homes, keeps us connected and takes us where we want to go.
Ship & Shore Environmental Inc. has introduced Hydroflare, a first-to-market technology developed in partnership with Hydrozonix,a leading water quality management company. The companies have joined forces in response to recent demand for a viable, efficient and long-term solution for managing water sourcing and wastewater treatment in hydraulic fracturing. This new technology evaporates and treats the "produced water" that oil and gas companies generate in the fracking process.
The Joint Review Panel assessing the proposed Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project is seeking public comments on the responses to the information request issued by the Panel. The responses were submitted by the proponent, Teck Resources Ltd.
Investing in the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) from forest industry residue can diversify Canada's energy mix, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve industrial efficiency and create new economic opportunities for Canadian companies and good middle-class jobs that benefit rural communities.
Alberta will attract the world’s most innovative companies to the province through $10 million in provincial funding to help build a test facility for technologies that convert CO2 emissions into usable products.