Canada is leading the world in methane emissions reductions
Global interest in reducing methane emissions from oil and gas is rising, but for nearly two decades, it’s already been an area of focus – and success – in Canada.
According to CEC research, Canada’s methane emissions fell by 16% between 2000 and 2018, even as oil production increased by 91%. But worldwide, methane emissions increased 27% and oil production by 38%.
“Canada is the global leader in technologies to reduce methane emissions,” says Soheil Asgarpour, CEO of Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC), a non-profit helping technology developers cross the bridge from R&D to commercial success.
Ambitious Reduction Targets
The governments of both Alberta and Canada now expect oil and gas producers to meet the target of reducing methane emissions by 45% in 2025 compared to levels in 2012.
“We’re seeing a shift in mindset of the industry to where oil and gas producers are seeing it as a strategic choice with economic upside to improve their emissions performance,” says Connor O’Shea, president of Calgary-based cleantech company Westgen Technologies.
Westgen’s technology reduces methane emissions from oil and gas well sites. In the last three years, its revenue increased 1,400%, and is expected to more than triple again in 2022.
O’Shea says the company’s explosive growth is thanks to customers increasingly recognizing the value of lowering their environmental footprint.
“I don’t think it’s going to stop,” he says. “I think management teams are going to continue to want those year-over-year improvements in emissions performance. And there’s lots of opportunity.”
Working for more than a decade on the challenge of methane emissions reduction, PTAC achieved a major milestone last year. As of October 2021, the technologies field tested through the research organization have capacity to reduce methane emissions by more than 45% — if adopted by oil and gas producers.
A Long-term Global Leader
The opportunity for these technology providers isn’t just within Canada. During last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Canada and over 100 other countries signed the Global Methane Pledge to reduce world methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
“If we can maintain our global leadership on technologies that reduce methane emissions, there’s going to be huge market created globally,” Asgarpour says.
PTAC CEO Allan Fogwill says Canada’s success in reducing emissions and developing technologies that address the challenge will help the world meet its methane targets.
“There’s nothing to suggest we couldn’t have similar impacts in the United States, the Middle East, or former Soviet countries that also are involved in oil and natural gas production. It could be quite significant,” Fogwill says.
“I don’t know of any other jurisdiction that is as far forward in terms of its methane management as Canada.”