Methane Emissions Are Higher Than Thought in Canadian Oil Patch

Methane emissions from Canada’s oil and gas industry in recent years were almost twice as high as previously thought, a study showed.

Oil-sands mines and other fossil fuel developments in Alberta and Saskatchewan released 3 million metric tons of methane into the air between 2010 and 2017, according to a report published in Environmental Science and Technology that used hourly atmospheric measurements during winter months. That compares with 1.6 million estimated in Canada’s National Inventory Report.

Alberta, which holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves, has struggled with a plunge in investments even before this year’s oil market crash partly because of growing concerns over climate change. Methane is one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.

Recently, Alberta and the federal government reached an agreement on aligning regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas facilities as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.

The report titled “Eight-Year Estimates of Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations in Western Canada Are Nearly Twice Those Reported in Inventories” was written by Elton Chan, Douglas E. J. Worthy, Douglas Chan, Misa Ishizawa, Michael D. Moran, Andy Delcloo, and Felix Vogel.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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