FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Oil & Gas Commission has issued a response to a study that was released on Wednesday that showed that methane emissions from B.C. oil and natural gas operations are at least two and a half times higher than reported by the provincial government.
The report was conducted by the David Suzuki Foundation in partnership with St. Francis Xavier University, and is undergoing final review in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions. The OGC says that the province intends to submit detailed comments in response, though a timeframe was not given.
The OGC says that through the combination of the provincial climate action strategy, and new technologies implemented by the natural gas industry, emission intensity per unit of production has decreased 37 percent since 2000. The OGC has also eliminated all routine flaring at oil and gas wells and production facilities. Despite this, the Commission says that nearly 40 percent of the natural gas sector’s emissions come from non-combustion sources such as venting and leaks.
According to provincial data, oil and gas production accounts for approximately 11 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Of that, roughly 2.2 million tonnes come from fugitive and vented methane emissions released during the production process.
B.C.’s Climate Leadership Team recommended that the OGC should set a goal to reduce fugitive and vented methane emissions by 40 per cent within five years, and after which the Commission could determine if a more ambitious action is necessary.