Canada: New Federal Methane Reduction Regulations for the Upstream Oil and Gas Sector

The government of Canada has released its proposal for the first federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions applicable specifically to the upstream oil and gas sector, titled Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector).

The proposed regulations, which will be enacted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, SC 1999, c 33, introduce facility and equipment standards to reduce fugitive and venting emissions of “hydrocarbon” gas (defined in the proposed regulations as methane and certain volatile organic compounds but, for the purposes of this summary, referred to collectively as “gas”) from Canada’s oil and gas industry. These standards will apply as of 1 January 2020 (with several exceptions). The proposed regulations are part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to meet greenhouse-gas-reduction targets.

The reduction requirements contemplated in the proposed regulations can be categorized broadly into two categories: general requirements applicable to upstream oil and gas facilities and requirements specific to upstream oil and gas facilities producing or receiving an aggregate of more than 60,000 m3 of gas in a 12-month period.

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