Chris Montgomery, a spokesperson from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, provided an update on Alberta’s draft methane emissions regulations for Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce members and interested businesses at the OTS room in the Servus Sports Centre on Monday. Montgomery thanked the chamber for lobbying the government to limit the economic impact of the regulations on Lloydminster’s conventional heavy oil sector. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) tipped its hat to the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce for helping to lobby the Alberta government to dial back some potentially costly methane emissions reductions regulations.
“That was the main reason I wanted to come back was to thank the community—the chamber in particular,” said CAPP spokesperson Chris Montgomery in a update presentation in the OTS room at the Servus Sports Centre on Monday.
“They put in a lot of effort talking to the government about economic concerns that communities like Lloydminster would feel if the government had gone ahead with its proposal a year ago.”
Alberta’s draft directives will reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations by 45 per cent by 2025 by abandoning a previous prescriptive site by site approach that CAPP and business feared would cost jobs and investment.
Montgomery said the draft methane emissions regulations come at a time when investment in the oil and gas sectors is expected to drop to minus 5 per cent growth in Canada in 2018 while rising 40 per cent in the U.S.
“That speaks to the competitive challenges that we are facing here in Alberta—if we want to attract investment in the oil and gas sector we need to be cost effective,” he said.
He noted capital is going to go where industry can make the best return for their shareholders.
“We need to work with government to bring some of the costs down and some of the regulatory burden the industry is facing,” said Montgomery.
“We were thankful the government came back to the table to revisit what they were proposing,” said Montgomery, who noted Alberta’s public input period ended on May 28.
“We feel the regulations have come a long way, but we do have some concerns when it comes to costs going forward.”
One of those concerns is the specifics around leak detection technology and how often that needs to be deployed.
“We feel there could be other technologies that could be used in more appropriate circumstances, and we may not need in all cases frequency of detection in order to achieve the outcome,” said Montgomery.
CAPP is also concerned that methane releases to “upsets” shouldn’t be included in emissions reporting data as Montgomery went on to explain.
“Within the systems that distribute and collect natural gas you need some safety valves—with pressures for example—those need to be released and flared off to protect the facility and the workers that are working there,” he said.
He noted those emissions aren’t part of normal operating conditions and suggested it may not be appropriate for those to be included in the overall emissions of the company.
“We’re a lot better off than where we were a year ago,” he said when he came to Lloydminster to ask the chamber to help raise the alarms bells.
“We’ve always felt we can meet the government’s targets for reducing methane by 45 per cent, but wanted to make sure businesses had the tools to get there is a way that was most cost-effective for them in their line of business—and the government adopted that approach.”
The chamber rallied by sending letters to various ministers in 2017 fearing that meeting these reduction targets would be costly to Lloydminster and area in the form of fewer investment opportunities and fewer jobs in conventional heavy oil production.
“They started from feedback from members,” said chamber president David Naqvi, who introduced Montgomery.
The chamber also created a policy resolution on the methane regulations.
They presented that resolution to the Alberta Chamber of Commerce so they could advocate on their behalf to the provincial government.
“We are happy that policy resolution was approved at the Alberta chamber conference with a 100 per cent delegate vote,” added chamber executive director, Serena Sjodin.
In related news, the chamber will interview Steve Barbour of Upsteam Data on his methane reduction solution at the upcoming Chamber on Tap event at the Rock Creek Tap & Grill on June 20 at 5 p.m.