Canada Proposes Methane Pollution Standards for Oil and Gas Drilling

Canadian regulators are formally proposing rules to reduce methane pollution from the oil and natural gas sector.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Credit: Greg Nash.

The announcement from Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna on 25 May came despite the Trump administration’s actions in the United States to reverse course on methane regulations written by former President Barack Obama.

Methane is the main component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas about 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

In proposing the rules, McKenna specifically cited the examples of California, Colorado, and North Dakota as jurisdictions that Canada wants to emulate on methane regulation.

“By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save and sell that natural gas and do their part to fight climate change. And this will support more modern technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector,” McKenna said in a statement.

“Our government knows that, through innovation and technology, we can reduce emissions while improving the health of Canadians.”

The rules target methane leaks in the drilling process, leaks from equipment, and venting unused gas at wells and at compressor stations, among other places.

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