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Oil and natural gas industry

Climate Change

Canada produces less than 1.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of that, Canada’s oil and natural gas industry produces about 28% of our 1.5% of world emissions.

By developing new technologies, Canada’s oil and natural gas industry can increase production and lower emissions over the long term. Producing oil and natural gas with lower emissions provides the industry a competitive advantage in global markets. It also enables Canada to play a role in lowering emissions from other countries by displacing coal use for generating electricity.

Industry’s climate positions

Canada’s oil and natural gas industry has demonstrated a commitment to investing in environmental protection and GHG reducing technologies in a world that demands a lower emissions future. Continued investment in innovation and technology is helping drive down emissions intensity (a measure of the GHG emissions released per unit, e.g. per barrel of oil) and positions Canada’s energy industry as part of the global solution needed to tackle the global climate challenge.

Canadian LNG

Using Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to displace coal to generate electricity can help reduce global emissions because natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal.

Liquefied natural gas from B.C will have among the lowest CO2 per tonne of any LNG produced in the world. LNG Canada’s low GHG footprint will be achieved through a combination of the lower-CO2 composition of Montney natural gas; widespread electrification of upstream operations like drilling and processing; the use of green power from B.C.’s hydro-driven electrical grid; and the use of highly efficient gas turbines at the liquefaction plant.


Reducing Emissions

In Canada’s conventional sector, production has grown while emissions have fallen.

From 2012 to 2021:

  • Methane emissions have fallen steadily, despite increasing production over the same period. As a result, the methane intensity of oil and gas production in Canada has fallen sharply.
  • The amount of methane released for every BOE produced fell by over 50%.
In Canada’s oil sands, emissions intensity has been reduced.

From 2000 to 2021:

  • Emissions from the oil sands have risen since 2000 as the industry has quintupled in size.
  • Emissions have grown slower than overall production, however, as the emissions intensity of production has continually decreased.

Methane

Small leaks of methane, called fugitive emissions, come from valves, pump seals, and other equipment used in natural gas drilling and production. Methane is also released when natural gas is flared or vented. Canada is a global leader in reducing the flaring and venting of methane and is developing new technologies to detect and mitigate methane leaks.

  • Operators have driven methane reductions in a variety of ways, such as limiting routine venting and flaring, replacing high bleed pneumatic devices, and increasing measurement and monitoring.
  • Natural gas producers reduced methane emissions by 38% from 2012-2021.
  • A report released by the Government of Alberta in January 2022 announced that Alberta’s oil and natural gas industry had achieved the province’s methane emissions reduction target of 45% from 2012 levels by 2025, three years ahead of schedule.

Reducing Canada’s offshore emissions

Here are some examples of actions the offshore industry has taken to manage and reduce GHG emissions:

  • Reducing flaring.
  • Focusing on operational efficiencies and preventative maintenance, which in turn lead to reduced energy consumption, including improving efficiency of power generation units and other key equipment.
  • Implementing fugitive emissions monitoring systems that use optical gas imaging cameras, facilitating rapid leak detection and repair.
  • Using fuel management and monitoring systems on supply vessels to ensure vessels are operating as efficiently as possible.
  • Electrifying key pieces of equipment, such as cranes and batteries.
  • Digitalization, including movement to onshore control centres.
  • Supporting research and development, including projects in the areas of use of alternative low carbon fuels in marine transportation and new flare reduction technologies.

How we are innovating

Canada’s oil, natural gas and oil sands producers are part of a high-tech, knowledge-based industry. New technology and innovation are critical to developing Canada’s resources and improving environmental performance.  Discover how industry is innovation.

Canadian oil and gas innovation

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