Canada: Alberta Releases Draft Directives For Reducing Methane Emissions From Oil And Gas Operations

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has issued two draft Directives that will require upstream oil and gas operators to reduce methane emissions from upstream oil and gas sites by 45% from 2014 levels by 2025. Draft versions of Directive 017: Measurement Requirements for Oil and Gas Operations and Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting, if finalized and brought into force, will address the primary sources of methane emissions from Alberta's upstream oil and gas industry: fugitive methane emissions from leaking or malfunctioning equipment and routine methane venting from pneumatic devices, glycol dehydrators, compressors, vessels and tanks.

The new requirements include applying emission design standards to new facilities and equipment, increased measurement and reporting and new leak detection and repair requirements. The new requirements, which are expected to be finalized and brought into force in fall 2018, will apply to upstream oil, gas and bitumen wells, oil and gas facilities, gas plants, pipeline installations, storage facilities and tank terminals.

The AER estimates the new requirements will cost industry $780 million over the 2018 to 2025 implementation period.

Fugitive emissions management

Fugitive emissions management is based on a systematic program of detecting and repairing leaks and malfunctioning equipment. Operators will be required by June 1, 2018, to document a fugitive emissions management program that includes preventative maintenance practices, procedures for fugitive methane emission surveys and screenings, training programs, and procedures to track, manage and verify the status of equipment repairs.

Operators of gas plants, compressors, batteries and certain other facilities will have to conduct fugitive emission surveys either at least once every four months or annually, depending on the type of facility or equipment. The type of survey equipment and the scope of the surveys is prescribed in Directive 060.

Additionally, operators of oil and gas wells will have to undertake annual fugitive emission screenings at well sites commencing in 2020.

Repairs to equipment with fugitive emissions must be made within 24 hours if the methane emissions are causing an off-site odour, a pilot or ignitor on a flare stack has failed or if the emissions could cause safety issues. Otherwise, the equipment must be repaired within 30 days unless a major shutdown is required to complete the repair, the emissions have a hydrocarbon concentration of 10,000 ppm or less or the source is a surface casing vent flow.

Vent gas management

Methane is currently vented to atmosphere by pneumatic devices (i.e., meters), compressor seals, glycol dehydrators and tank venting.

Directive 060 will require operators to document a methane reduction retrofit compliance plan by June 1, 2019. It must contain a schedule to replace and retrofit existing equipment, allocate funding to reduce venting and be approved by an executive officer of the operator. The plan must be updated annually.

Upon draft Directive 060 coming into force, each operator will have an overall vent gas limit at each existing and future oil and gas site, but excluding pneumatic devices, compressor seals and glycol dehydrators until January 1, 2023. As well, a defined vent gas limit for each new site will be in place when Directive 060 is brought into force. Additionally, effective January 1, 2022, venting limits will be imposed on new and existing crude bitumen batteries and new pneumatic devices and centrifugal compressors. Effective January 1, 2023, venting limits will be extended to existing pneumatic devices, centrifugal and reciprocating compressors and glycol dehydrators.

Measurement, testing, reporting and recordkeeping

Directive 017 identifies when vent gas from a site must be quantified using continuous metering or periodic testing: A yet-to-be published AER manual will set out how to estimate vent gas and fugitive emissions.

Annual methane emissions reporting to the AER will be required.

Further, annual testing of compressor seals is required starting in 2019 or 2020, depending on the type of compressor.

Various fugitive methane emission records must be kept for four years and provided to the AER upon request.

Carbon tax exemptions and federal equivalency

Operators in the upstream oil and gas industry are currently exempt from paying Alberta's carbon tax on fuels used in any activity integral to the drilling, completion, operation, work over or abandonment of oil and gas wells and the operation of upstream oil and gas facilities and pipelines. This exemption is to continue until January 1, 2023, the intent being to allow operators to allocate funding to fugitive methane emission reductions instead of paying the carbon tax.

The Government of Canada has also announced regulations for methane emission reductions in the upstream oil and gas sector. It has stated that the federal regulations will apply in each province unless a province can demonstrate that its policies will achieve methane emission reductions equivalent to the federal regulations. Alberta's proposed Directives were designed in consultation with Environment and Climate Change Canada. However, it remains to be seen if the federal government will deem Alberta's regulations to be equivalent to the federal regulations.

About Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. We provide the world's preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have 3800 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

For more information about Norton Rose Fulbright, see

Law around the world

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions