Balanced plan will cut methane and save jobs; Made-in-Alberta model right choice

Contributed to The Calgary Herald
Tim McMillan
President and CEO
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
November 04, 2017
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has a plan to meet the government’s target of cutting methane emissions by 45 per cent while protecting nearly 7,000 jobs in Alberta – the reasonable, balanced approach that Albertans are looking for.

We envision a future that will balance growth from Canada’s oil and natural gas resources, but also incorporate strict rules for ensuring environmental stewardship. We don’t have to sacrifice one to achieve the other. If we are smart and remain competitive, we can have both.

Industry’s early action, coupled with stringent provincial regulations to reduce emissions, have made Alberta’s rules for venting and flaring a model of success internationally, according to the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership.

Through a made-in-Alberta approach, government and industry have already reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions eight million tonnes between 1996 and 2010 by cutting the amount of natural gas flared by 80 per cent. This initiative demonstrates our desire to work with Ottawa on a national plan.

At a time when more than 200,000 Albertans find themselves unemployed, our plan can protect up to 7,000 jobs as we move to a lower-carbon future.

CAPP wants to help Alberta meet its climate change targets without hurting working Albertans or imposing job cuts. It is proposing a $700-million, industry-funded, made-in-Alberta approach to achieve these targets.

Our plan is a cost-efficient, risk-based, competitive model aimed at decreasing venting, faster detection of leaks, sealing compressors, retrofitting pneumatics at operating sites and developing leading edge technology. 

Canada has been a global leader in methane reductions since 1998 when the country first introduced regulatory targets through the Clean Air Strategic Alliance, and is once again ahead of the United States.

The U.S. waited more than 10 years before it took action in 2009 when the Environmental Protection Agency finally issued mandatory GHG reporting requirements for large emitters.

Recently, the U.S. took a step backward when it left the North American Climate, Clean Energy and Environment Partnership and abandoned its climate change commitments. Although some states have pledged to reduce emissions, major energy-producing ones such as Texas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma are not taking any action.

The divergence in Canada-U.S. policy has created social and economic burdens on society. 

A prescriptive approach to Alberta’s policy framework would have a negative impact. Industry forecasts it would result in nearly 7,000 jobs lost, a drop in capital spending of almost $710 million, and a decrease to our gross domestic product of $2.5 billion.

We need to protect the environment, and we need to protect Alberta’s workers and their families. We can do both. 

Our province boasts a strong, reliable regulatory system that balances environment with economics. The adoption of CAPP’s approach to reducing GHGs can stimulate innovation in the energy sector and maintain our reputation as an environmental leader.

It is this reputation that has positioned us as a preferred supplier globally. In the Global Energy Pulse, a first-of-its-kind Ipsos study conducted earlier this year, Canada ranked No. 1 among the world’s top 11 producing nations as the favoured producer of oil and natural gas internationally.

Energy production is expected to increase in the coming years. According to CAPP’s 2017 Crude Oil Forecast, Markets and Transportation report, Canadian production will grow to 5.1 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030 from nearly 3.9 million bpd in 2016.

As well, the International Energy Agency forecasts global oil demand will continue growing and be the world’s largest energy source through to 2040.

Alberta’s oil and natural gas producers want to be a part of the solution. Our approach to reducing GHGs will not only secure our country’s energy future but it will reduce our environmental footprint and ensure a future for generations to come. 

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