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Methane emissions: Ottawa unveils stricter rules for the oil industry

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec4,2023

Émethane emissions: Ottawa unveils stricter rules for oil industry

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Among the new measures announced is a ban on flaring, which involves burning excess gas from oil and gas wells. This process releases five times more methane than previously estimated, according to a study.


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The federal government has unveiled stricter rules to which the oil and gas industry will have to comply with the aim of significantly reduce methane emissions in Canada.

The Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, made the announcement Monday during the climate summit, COP28, in Dubai.

Similar to those announced in recent days by the United States, the new rules aim to help Canada meet and exceed its goal of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by at least 75% compared to 2012 levels.

Methane is an odorless and colorless gas, considered to be 80 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide for 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere, according to the United Nations Environment Program. x27;environment.

Reducing methane emissions from our oil and gas sector is one of the fastest ways to reduce the pollution that fuels climate change.

A quote from Federal Minister Steven Guilbeault of the Environment

In a press release, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and the provincial Minister of the Environment and Protected Areas, Rebecca Schulz, said Ottawa's approach is costly, dangerous and unconstitutional.

They point out that the province has already put in place initiatives to reduce methane emissions that are working: Alberta has already reduced its methane emissions from the gas and oil sector by 45%.

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Danielle Smith and Rebecca Schulz also denounce the lack of financial support from Ottawa in achieving its targets.

The new regulations require oil and gas companies to plug methane leaks and ban the flaring of natural gas. The process, which involves burning excess gas from oil and gas wells, would release five times more methane than previously estimated.

Regular inspections of facilities are also mandatory.

The regulation will apply to thousands of domestic oil and gas facilities. Public consultations will begin on December 16.

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Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault highlights the need to accelerate the reduction of methane emissions in Canada.

A sharp reduction in global methane emissions could slow the projected increase in global average temperatures by 0.1°, according to a report released in October by the International Energy Agency (IEA). C by 2050.

The goal of the climate summit is to reduce emissions to limit global warming planet to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, in order to avoid climate catastrophe.

The oil industry recognizes the need to reduce methane emissions more quickly. At least that's what Rhona DelFrari, head of sustainability for Cenovus Energy, a Calgary oil and gas company, says.

She adds that Cenovus Energy has reduced its methane emissions by 59% over the past three years and is now targeting an 80% reduction target by 2028 from 2019 levels.

Oil extraction releases a variable amount of methane. Some companies capture these gases and transport them in a pipeline to sell them as natural gas, others release them into the atmosphere or burn them.

Furthermore, one of the challenges in combating methane emissions is correctly accounting for the amount of methane released into the air. Surveillance technology is improving, including the development of sophisticated sensors and satellites, but experts say the accuracy of current data can still be improved.

As part of its announcement made Monday, Ottawa also committed to dedicating $30 million to the creation of a methane center of excellence to #x27;improve reporting of methane emissions and focus on data and metrics.

It should be noted that more than 150 countries have signed a methane pledge, which aims to reduce global emissions of the pollutant by 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

China refused to take part in this commitment.

With information from Kyle Bakx< /em>

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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