Over 400 oil and gas producers provided funding for the methane leak detection, quantification and repair project launched in the Red Deer area last August. CP photo by Jeff McIntosh.

Methane leak study involves 30 producing companies, 200 oil and gas facilities

Last August, three oil industry associations launched a large-scale applied research project that focuses on methane leak detection, quantification and repair in Alberta.

The Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) call the project the Fugitive Emissions Management Program Effectiveness Assessment, or FEMP EA.

“This first-of-its-kind project is a remarkable step forward in enabling our industry to obtain accurate data to reduce its methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025, through existing technologies made possible through PTAC initiatives,” said Soheil Asgarpour, president, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada.

The FEMP EA was launched through the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF), a collaboration between the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Energy Regulator and industry and is expected to be completed in 12 months.

“Sound public policy and smart regulation must be built on a foundation of accurate data and thorough, objective analysis and understanding,” said Gary Leach, president of EPAC.

“The Fugitive Emissions Management Program Effectiveness Assessment reflects this approach and EPAC is pleased to offer our support and endorsement for this project,” added Leach.

Over 400 oil and gas producers provided funding for the project via the AUPRF.  The AUPRF, managed by PTAC, says its goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of Canada’s oil and gas industry in an economically responsible manner.

The study will cover 2,500 square kilometres in the Red Deer region.  Thirty producing companies and nearly 200 oil and gas facilities will be involved in the project.

The team performing the project is made up of experts from Stanford University, Cap-Op Energy, Davis Safety and DXD Consulting.

Project objectives and design have been created by a review of over 100 studies conducted by Stanford university.

In a press release issued by the three associations, the group said “FEMP EA will not only establish the basis for our industry to considerably reduce GHG emissions within Alberta, but will produce vast learnings applicable to other oil and gas jurisdictions both domestically and internationally”.

Wayne Hillier, CAPP’s Alberta Manager, said the FEMP EA will be foundational: “the detailed knowledge of methane emissions from a large number of facilities, measured repeatedly over a 12 month period, will allow us to evaluate new and innovative detection, quantification, and control technologies, which could allow us to find and reduce methane releases faster and at lower costs”.

PTAC says it will offer more information about FEMP EA at the Methane Emissions Reduction Forum in Banff in late November.