Backgrounder Article from  Environment and Climate Change Canada

Reducing methane emissions from Canada's oil and gas industry

Canada is committing to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. To implement this commitment, the federal government will introduce regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector to address venting and fugitive emissions.

The Canadian requirements will cover emissions from the same sources subject to current and proposed U.S. regulatory requirements and will also require reductions from some unique Canadian sources such as heavy oil.  

Canada will publish the proposed methane regulations by early 2017, with final regulations published by the end of 2017. These regulations will apply to new and existing sources, with the first requirements coming into force as early as 2018, and the remaining requirements coming into force by 2020.

The regulations would apply to oil and gas facilities that are responsible for the extraction, production and processing, and transportation of crude oil and natural gas. These include oil and gas wells and batteries, natural gas processing plants, compressor stations, and supporting pipelines.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will be discussing the proposed regulatory approach with stakeholders over the next few months. Specific regulatory requirements will be designed to cover the key methane emission sources in Canada while minimizing administrative burden and providing the flexibility needed for efficient and effective operations in Canadian circumstances. Covered sources will include:

  • venting from wells and batteries (including associated gas at oil facilities);
  • storage tanks;
  • pneumatic devices;
  • well completions;
  • compressors; and
  • fugitive equipment leaks.

ECCC will be phasing-in requirements, starting with leak detection and repair, and well completions, in 2018 for new and existing facilities, and then adding other requirements through 2020.

Federal regulations will create clear and consistent requirements across the country. ECCC will negotiate equivalency agreements with interested provinces and territories to enable these jurisdictions to be front-line regulators where they have legally binding regimes that produce equal or better environmental outcomes.

Tackling methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is one of the lowest-cost reduction opportunities and will make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

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Hon. Catherine McKenna Environment and Climate Change Canada Nature and Environment

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