PEFTEC 2017 - Abstract

Abstract Title: Methane Regulatory Case Study
Abstract Type: Oral
Presenter Name: Mr Ian Kuwahara
Company/Organisation: Alberta Energy Regulator
Session Choice: Regulation and drivers

Abstract Information :

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is the agency responsible for regulating hydrocarbon resources in Alberta. We regulate over 80 per cent of Canada's petroleum industry including 431,000 km of pipelines and 50,000 oil and gas facilities. We ensure the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible development of Alberta's energy resources.

When the government of Alberta announced its Climate Leadership Plan in 2015, the AER was tasked with reducing methane emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector by 45 per cent by 2025. Shortly after this announcement, both the Canadian and US federal governments matched this ambitious goal with national methane reduction plans of their own.

To meet the goal set out by the government, the AER has a multifaceted approach to developing regulations. This includes enhancements to existing directives, multiple studies in partnership with other organizations, economic modelling to assess the regulatory impacts, and updates to the industry publications AER creates. Guidance from the government also specified that the efforts focus on the following key areas:

  • Regulations for existing facilities
  • Regulations for new facilities
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Measurement, monitoring, and reporting (MMR)
In addition to regulatory requirements for emission reduction there will be a strong regulatory component of MMR to ensure that baseline emission rates, progress towards targets, regulatory effectiveness, and compliance assurance activities will be informed by good data.

The regulatory framework that the AER is developing is source-type specific (e.g. it addresses fugitive emissions, pneumatic devices, venting, compressors and glycol dehydrators) and it focuses on the most cost effective abatement options for industry with matching MMR requirements.

This session will:
  • provide insight into the regulatory context and how changing political environments have tested the ambitious methane reduction goal
  • highlight the technical challenges related to methane emissions and why the problem has persisted for so long despite best efforts by industry and previous regulations
  • outline the AER's regulatory development approach, learnings from this approach for industry and other regulators, and
  • provide a forum for discussion on how other jurisdictions might implement their own regulatory frameworks and the impacts this may have on stakeholders.
The session is for industry, government regulators, policy makers, academics and technology providers who are interested in hearing about a case study in ambitious regulatory changes for methane measurement monitoring and how it might impact their business.