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Canada proposes regulations to reduce methane and VOC emissions from oil and gas industry

27 May 2017

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) proposed regulations to reduce methane and VOC emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector. The regulations are part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to reduce methane emissions by 40-45% by 2025. The proposal follows similar action already taken by some US states such as California, Colorado, and North Dakota, noted ECCC.

Oil and gas facilities account for 26% of Canada’s total GHG emissions. These facilities are also Canada’s largest emitters of CH4, a potent GHG with a global warming potential 25 times that of CO2.

The proposed Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector) would introduce control measures (facility and equipment level standards) to reduce fugitive and venting emissions of hydrocarbons, including CH4, from the oil and gas sector. Upstream oil and gas facilities would be required to limit vented volumes of hydrocarbons, to implement leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs, and certain measures to reduce emissions from compressors, pumps and other equipment. Most of the requirements would be phased-in from 2020-2023.

The proposed Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds (Petroleum Sector) would require the implementation of LDAR programs at Canadian petroleum refineries, upgraders and certain petrochemical facilities. The operators of these facilities would also be required to modify certain equipment components to prevent leaks and to monitor the level of certain VOCs at facility perimeters. In total, 26 refineries, oil-sands upgraders, and petrochemical facilities would be affected by these regulations.

Presently, there are no federal regulations to regulate GHG emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector. There are some provincial programs in place, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Under the 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.

Environment and Climate Change Canada will accept public comments on the proposed regulations until July 27, 2017.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada