VANCOUVER, B.C. – A new video has been released showing methane leaking from gas wells in the Montney Basin.
In December, non-profit organization Earthworks and the Pembina Institute used optical gas imaging cameras to document methane leaking from polluting gas wells and other facilities.
According to scientists, methane is a greenhouse gas that traps 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. It is invisible to the human eye but responsible for 25 percent of already observed changes to Earth’s climate.
The images of leaking methane come in the wake of the David Suzuki Foundation’s peer-reviewed research showing methane pollution from B.C.’s oil and gas industry is much higher than reported. According to the research, 47 percent of active oil and gas wells in the study area were found to emit methane-rich plumes.
Jan Gorski, of Pembina Institute, says oil and gas projects release methane pollution into the atmosphere through intentional venting and unintentional leaks.
“Oil and gas operations, including those that will supply future LNG projects, release methane pollution into the atmosphere through intentional venting and unintentional leaks. B.C.’s draft regulations do not address the full scale of the province’s methane pollution problem.”
In early 2018, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission said it would be developing new ways of monitoring methane emissions and implementing a fugitive emissions management program after a report from the David Suzuki Foundation confirmed the findings of a study released in 2017.
The report suggests the regulations under development should include more frequent site inspections of oil and gas operations and stronger policies to address intentional methane venting.
Ian Bruce, David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director, says the Foundation trusts that the Province strengthen the draft methane pollution framework to ensure the industry is a responsible partner in the province’s climate plan.
“With the release of the CleanBC climate plan this month, the government re-energized its global leadership on climate change. We trust that B.C. will apply that same ambition and strengthen the draft methane pollution framework to ensure industry is a responsible partner in the province’s climate plan.”
Although there are strong elements to reduce reported and vented emissions, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s draft regulatory framework would exempt 93 percent of sites from frequent leak detection and repair and 35 percent of sites from modern instrument-based inspection.
The B.C. Government plans to finalize methane regulations in 2019.
You can view the methane gas leak video below.