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Methane reduction efforts paying off, says SPOG

Provincial government says the province is now on track to reach an overall 45 per cent methane emission reduction by 2025
MVT gas flaring-2
In oil and natural gas operations, methane is emitted from small leaks from valves and other equipment used in oil and natural gas drilling and production. It is also sometimes released during venting and if there is incomplete combustion during flaring. File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG)’s participation in recent province-wide efforts to reduce methane emissions has been worthwhile for member companies and the community partners involved, says executive director Tracey McCrimmon.

“Industry has positioned itself to move forward on emissions reduction and we see it definitely within our membership and participation in our regional methane programs,” said McCrimmon.

“We support our industry members in these programs and initiatives to continue to reach those goals for 2025. It’s going to take some work but the goal (of 45 per cent emissions reduction over 2014 levels) is realistic.”

A new provincial government report indicates methane emissions in the oil and gas industry have been reduced by 34 per cent since 2014. As well, the government says the province is now on track to reach an overall 45 per cent methane emission reduction by 2025.

SPOG is a collection of oil and gas companies with operations in the region. It promotes awareness of oilpatch issues and programs through workshops, pilot projects, newsletters, resident visits and other activities. It has associate members including Mountain View County.

SPOG has been involved in several methane reduction projects, including the methane emissions management program pilot project, which has been extended to the end of 2022.

Key objectives of that pilot project include developing a comprehensive inventory of methane releases and equipment using ground surveys with optic gas imaging for release detection, and the development of data tools and systems to collect pertinent methane information for analysis and reporting, she said.

“That can certainly contribute to the overall bigger picture,” she said.

SPOG is also involved with the ongoing Alberta Methane Emissions Program (AMEP), a three year, $17.6 million project to support methane reduction efforts. 

“Under the sponsorship of Alberta Environment and Parks, and in collaboration with the Alberta Energy Regulator, the AMEP will provide an international showcase for environmental and economic improvements that can be generated by private sector innovation, academic research, development, and proactive policy and regulation,” she said.

Jason Nixon is the UCP MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre and the province’s minister of Environment and Parks.

“Alberta is making remarkable headway on cutting methane emissions through our real-world approach and strong provincial requirements,” Nixon said following the Jan. 26 release of the provincial report. 

“By focusing on tangible results, Alberta is reducing methane in our atmosphere while increasing natural gas production and the societal benefits that come from growing our resources.”

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage echoed Nixon’s comments.

“Alberta’s energy industry continues to be  a leader in emissions reductions while also striving to meet growing global demand for responsibly produced and reliable energy,” said Savage. 

“These results show how seriously the sector takes emission reductions and how a combination of technology, innovation and collaboration will help our province and all of Canada meet its climate goals.”