Energy Exchange

Analysis: Cutting oil and gas methane is one of Canada’s most affordable climate solutions

By Ari Pottens and Maureen Lackner

New research confirms that cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is one of the fastest and most affordable steps Canada can take to help address the climate crisis. According to the report by Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors, Canada’s upstream oil and gas companies can eliminate 75% of their methane emissions at an average cost of about $11 per tonne. 

Marginal Cost & Potential of Methane Abatement Measures at Gas Sites

This is one of the biggest bargains that exists when it comes to climate solutions. For example, were oil and gas companies subject to Canada’s entire carbon price, they would need to pay $65 per tonne of carbon pollution they create. By 2030, this figure will rise to $170 per tonne. Meanwhile, technologies that can directly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are estimated to cost between $125 and $335 USD per tonne, an astronomical figure compared to methane abatement.  Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Without action, unreported methane pollution from Saskatchewan could threaten Canada’s climate goals and create more fallout from climate change

By Ari Pottens and Scott Seymour

It’s no secret that the rampant, out-of-control wildfires which are devastating parts of Canada and creating toxic air quality conditions for millions of people, are exacerbated by climate change. This makes it all the more crucial to rapidly reduce the greenhouse gases behind the climate crisis.

In 2020, Canada’s federal government implemented new regulations to stem the methane emitted from the oil and gas industry — the leading source of methane in the country. The  protections were intended to help cut emissions by 40% – 45% by 2025. Subsequently, the federal government significantly increased its methane ambition and set a 75% reduction goal by 2030.

But a new study is revealing some problems with the way Saskatchewan is managing emissions from a very specific type of oil production known as Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand. It just so happens that a lot of gas, most of which is methane,  also comes out during this process. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Canada, Climate, Methane / Comments are closed

Landmark study reveals that millions of Americans live less than a mile from an orphaned oil and gas well

By Adam Peltz & Kate Roberts

This week, the Department of the Interior announced nearly $660 million in grant funding to plug orphan wells across the U.S., adding to $560 million in initial funding from last summer. The news comes on the heels of new research led by researchers at McGill University and EDF experts that quantifies the extent of the orphan well problem this funding will begin to tackle.

The study found that at least 4.6 million people are living within about a half mile of an orphaned oil and gas well. Published in June 2023 in Environmental Research Letters, the study examined the environmental risks of orphaned wells and how plugging or repurposing wells could play a role in the transition to net zero. An additional key finding is that many essential technical details about this well set, like depth and condition, and environmental impacts, including methane emission rates and whether they have caused groundwater contamination, are largely unknown.

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Also posted in Air Quality / Comments are closed

Lack of standards could undermine global hydrogen market before it gets started

By Morgan Rote

Governments and industry around the world are wagering big on hydrogen to solve the climate and clean energy challenge.

But woefully insufficient global progress toward establishing strong climate, safety, social and sustainability standards is threatening to compromise the hydrogen market before it has a chance to get started.

With the looming threats posed by a rapidly warming climate, it’s a gamble of both time and money that we can’t afford to lose. It’s not just a matter of squandered resources; get it wrong enough, and we could even make the climate problem worse. Which means that before we roll these dice, it’s critical to have a set of commonly accepted standards to weigh our bets.

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Posted in Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New study underscores need for better methane measurement and strong regulations

New research reveals methane emissions from Saskatchewan’s oil and gas industry are much higher than previously thought. Fortunately, the Trudeau government has a tremendous opportunity to address this problem as it crafts next year’s federal budget and demonstrates its commitment to ratchet down climate pollution.

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Also posted in Air Quality / Comments are closed

The Inflation Reduction Act is a game-changer on methane. Here’s why.

By Edwin LaMair and Grace Smith

The US Congress recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which takes bold action to address the climate crisis. Multiple independent analyses show the bill could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, providing important support for President Biden’s goal of halving emissions by 2030.

Last week, the EPA requested public input on a key provision of the IRA — the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, MERP, — which works hand-in-hand with forthcoming EPA rules to cut methane from oil and gas operations through a fee on wasteful emissions.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane / Comments are closed