| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

Canada to target methane leaks from oil and gas operations in new rules

Canada announced draft laws on Monday to limit methane emissions from its enormous oil and gas infrastructure, in an effort to reduce the flow of the strong greenhouse gas.

The initiative is part of a global push to reduce methane emissions and bring Canada in line with the United States, which announced identical regulations last week.

Speaking at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Canada would eliminate the routine venting and flaring of oil and gas infrastructure, which can cause large amounts of methane to enter the atmosphere.

“Not only can methane emissions be captured and achieved at a low cost for the oil and gas companies, but that captured methane can then be sold or used as a source of energy,” Guilbeault added.

Canada, the world’s fourth-largest oil-producing nation, will also boost efforts to detect leaky oil and gas infrastructure, Guilbeault said, and address other issues that can cause methane to escape.

Methane does not last as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but can have 80 times the climate warming impact of CO2 over a 20-year period, making it crucial that countries slash emissions to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Canada’s draft methane regulations would result in the emissions reduction of 217 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2027 to 2040, the government said.

Canada is one of more than 150 countries signed onto the 2021 Global Methane Pledge, which commits them to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

New regulations were also expected from Egypt and Brazil.

“I am pleased to announce Egypt’s intention to develop internal or domestic methane regulations in its oil and gas sector by the end of 2024,” Egypt’s petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said during a panel presentation.

Egypt is among the biggest methane emitters in Africa due to flaring in its oil and gas operations.

Meanwhile, Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest methane emitter, according to the International Energy Agency, with most of the gas coming from its livestock industry.

Brazil aims to complete new regulations for oil and gas firms to cut methane emissions by the end of 2025, with draft guidelines to be floated next year, Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira said during the panel. He did not mention agricultural methane emissions.

“What we are seeing at COP28 is a pivot to implementation,” Rick Duke, U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, told Reuters.

Though China, the world’s biggest methane emitter, is not a signatory to the global methane pledge, its efforts to abate the gas are at the forefront of its activities at COP28, with several technical presentations from methane-emitting sectors like agriculture.

However, China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua talked down the country’s abatement capabilities, saying on Saturday that as a developing nation it was “willing but not as able” as other countries.

  • Reuters