PEFTEC 2019 - Abstract

Abstract Title: Baselining fugitive and vented emissions across Canadian energy developments
Abstract Type: Poster
Session Choice: Emerging technologies
Presenter Name: Katlyn MacKay
Co-authors: David Risk
Elizabeth O'Connell
Jennifer Baillie
Chelsea Fougere
Company/Organisation: St. Francis Xavier University
Country: Canada

Abstract Information :

Canadian governments both federal and provincial have pledged to cut energy sector methane emissions 40-45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025. Effective methane-reduction policy relies on accurate and spatially-extensive emissions data. In this study, we used a vehicle-based gas monitoring system equipped with customized Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) instruments to measure methane emissions in the following 6 Canadian oil and gas developments: Montney shale gas (BC), Lloydminster heavy oil (AB), Peace River heavy oil (AB), Medicine Hat shallow gas (AB), Bakken tight shale gas (SK), and Weyburn-Midale conventional oil (SK). Using site-specific gas ratios, background subtraction algorithms, and geospatial back-trajectory analysis, we established excess methane concentration anomalies (above our minimum detectable limit of 5-25 m3/day CH4, depending on sampling distance) and attributed them to known infrastructure (wells and facilities). Our objectives were to determine emissions frequency and severity from the upstream oil and gas emission sources we sampled. In total, we sampled more than 10,000 pieces of infrastructure in triplicate across British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Our results found that methane emissions in Lloydminster were the most frequent and severe, with more than 40% of wells and facilities in the region tagged as emitting. Emission frequency and severity in the Weyburn-Midale and Peace River regions were the lowest, likely due to sour gas reservoir compositions and historic scrutiny on air quality issues. In Weyburn-Midale, the prevalence of unitized, Enhanced Oil Recovery infrastructure may also contribute to decreased vented and fugitive emissions. Methane emissions often varied according to infrastructure age, operator size, product, and extraction style. The data collected during this study provides a valuable baseline for methane emission trends in Canada's upstream oil and gas sector, and future use of these datasets will aim to extract volumetric information that will be of significant value to both operators and policy-makers in the region.