The Air and Research Planning Committee (ARPC) runs through the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF), which is a collaborative platform between the Alberta Government, Alberta Energy Regulator that is managed by PTAC. The ARPC is composed of producer and government stakeholders who identify challenges and manage projects submitted to and funded by AUPRF. This group represents the “producer and government pull”. More information can be accessed on the AUPRF website by clicking here.

AUPRF’s Methane Research Planning Committee (MRPC) is a subset of the runs through the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF) Air Research Planning Committee (ARPC) created in 2017 to assist with the high priority topic of methane.

The Technology for Emissions Reduction and Eco-Efficiency (TEREE) is larger than the ARPC and MRPC and includes government, producer, and service and supply company representatives. This committee has no allocated funding; its main purpose is to share learnings to its committee members and promote direct interaction between end users and service providers. This group represents the “technology provider push”. More information can be accessed on the PTAC website by clicking here.

With the announcement of the Government of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan in 2015, the AER knew its task was to support the 45 per cent reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 2025—the question was, how?

Methane is a colourless, odourless, flammable gas that is the main constituent of natural gas. The climate change impact of methane is significant—it is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. In Alberta, the oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions.

To meet the goal set out by the government, the AER—with input from key players—is developing a multifaceted approach that includes enhancements to existing directives, multiple studies in partnership with other organizations, economic modelling to assess the regulatory impacts, updates to the ST60B report, and work in the following areas:

  • Fugitive emissions
  • Measurement, monitoring, and reporting
  • Regulations for existing facilities
  • Regulations for new facilities

The development of this approach is collaborative and focused on multistakeholder engagement.

The primary method of engagement is the Methane Reduction Oversight Committee, which consists of members from government, environmental nongovernment organizations, industry, and technology groups.

The committee, which came together in September 2016, is helping to develop recommendations and options to inform cost-effective regulations for new and existing facilities in the oil and gas sector.

The province is using the federal baseline data from 2014, where methane emissions from Alberta’s oil and gas sector were 31.4 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This accounted for 70 per cent of provincial methane emissions and 25 per cent of all emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector.

Cutting methane emissions will be the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the AER continues to protect what matters, we will collaborate to reduce emissions and deliver measurable results.