Skip to main content
Notice:

Welcome to the new bcogc.ca. We look forward to receiving your comments via the Website Feedback button below.

Can't find what you're looking for? Access the old website using this link.

Methane is a colourless, odourless flammable gas that is the main component in natural gas. In oil and gas production, methane is released into the atmosphere when natural gas is incompletely combusted, vented, or leaked in a regulated process.

Why do we want to reduce methane emissions?

Methane is a greenhouse gas and increased concentrations of methane in the atmosphere contribute to climate change. Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations is recognized as one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

Energy companies are doing their part to conserve emissions through gas capture, combustion and leak detection and repair program improvements. But some natural gas is still lost during normal operations.

What are we doing about methane emissions?

We conduct 4,000 to 5,000 inspections a year on oil and gas infrastructure and if unauthorized or “fugitive” methane emissions are found, companies are required to address them.

We’ve also developed methane emission regulations to address the primary sources of methane from B.C.’s upstream oil and gas industry, which are:

  • Pneumatic devices
  • Equipment leaks
  • Compressor seals
  • Glycol dehydrators
  • Storage tanks
  • Surface casing vents

New methane regulations came into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and are designed to reduce methane emissions by 10.9 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over a 10-year period, which is like taking 390,000 cars off the road each year.

This made-in-B.C.-approach was developed along with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the Climate Action Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, with input from environmental groups and industry.

Equivalency

B.C. worked closely with the federal government on an equivalency agreement resulting in the standing down of the federal methane regulations in B.C.

On April 4, 2019, The Government of Canada published Notice with respect to the availability of an equivalency agreement in the Canada Gazette.

An Order Declaring that the Provisions of the Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector) Do Not Apply in British Columbia: SOR/2020-60 and an accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement were published on April 15, 2020.

What research has been done on methane?

We continue to gather information and research on methane reduction to guarantee progress. The BC Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Research Collaborative (MERC) is a joint initiative between industry, government, non-profits and the Commission to support B.C.’s emissions targets and find ways to further reductions. All members have agreed to share funding, information and resources to advance research and broaden scientific understanding.

A field study of upstream oil and gas wellsites and batteries in B.C. was also conducted in September 2018 to estimate the number and types of equipment possibly releasing methane during operation. Of the 266 locations visited, less than half had leaks detected during the survey.

Bcogc methane emissions Staff in Field

What's next?

We will continue working with industry, government, and environmental organizations to further our understanding of methane emissions and how best to manage and reduce its release from oil and gas operations.

A new Leak Detection and Repair Data Collection Template complements the Fugitive Emissions Management Guideline, which are intended to support the leak detection and repair requirements in effect as of Jan. 1, 2020. The first set of data is expected by May 31, 2021.

We’re also working on amending the Flaring and Venting Reduction Guideline and developing a new vent data collection template to go with the amended guideline.

Milestones

  • Jan. 16, 2019
    New regulations to reduce methane emissions to meet provincial and federal targets announced

  • Mar. 30, 2019
    Proposed Equivalency Agreement with the Government of Canada is published

  • June 15, 2019
    Proposed Order declared by Government of Canada that B.C’s methane emissions regulations are equivalent

  • Jan. 1, 2020
    Regulations to reduce methane emissions came into effect

  • May 31, 2021
    First set of data to be provided as part of a Leak Detection and Repair Data Collection template

Website Feedback