Canada and U.S. aiming to reduce methane emissions from the oil & gas industry by at least 40 per cent

By | 2016-03-10

Canadian and American leaders, Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama, have declared they will come to a mutual agreement in order to reach their environmental targets by 2025 and diminish methane emissions from the oil and gas industry of their countries by 40 to 45% in comparison to emissions benchmarks of 2012. Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG) more than 21 times more harmful to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming. The oil and gas industry is releasing important amounts of this GHG trough the extraction of their unconventional fossil fuel resources.

Oilfields and oil deposits contain not only oil but also natural gas, mainly constituted of methane. Unconventional oil deposits, such as the ones found in shale rock, are for now exploited by fracking, which consists of injecting liquid at high pressure into the shale rock in order to broaden existing cracks and collect the fossil resources.

The main environmental issue with this extraction technique is that since it is almost impossible to predict how and where the cracks will open, you can’t really prevent the associated release of methane that finally ends up in the atmosphere. In fact, methane contained in oil deposits is usually either flared or collected and injected into the natural gas pipeline grid. But to do so, its extraction must be monitored and controlled, and that is not possible with shale deposits.

Canada’s plan to invest in clean energy and technology

Besides sharing this bilateral agreement, Canada has already committed to boost investments in innovative possibilities of clean energy and clean technology. This commitment includes, among other environmental goals, the implementation of the CAD $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Trust in order to support and stimulate energy projects aimed to reduce the Canadian carbon footprint.

Also, the country will work together with its Provinces and Territories to elaborate the Canadian Energy Strategy, aim to preserve the country’s energy security, stimulate energy conservation, and produce cleaner electricity coming from renewable energy sources.

Biogas has an obvious potential to be part of the solution to climate change, not only for Canada and U.S. but globally. First, as natural gas, it consists mainly of methane. Therefore, it has an undeniable energy and electricity potential and can be injected into the natural gas grid after refinery.

Then, because it is produced from renewable sources and is a substitute for natural gas and oil, exploiting biogas reduces the need to use these polluting and emitting fossil fuels as well as the problematic leaks and emissions of methane associated with its extraction from fossil deposits, regular and unconventional. In short, biogas being a carbon-neutral clean renewable energy, exploiting its potential should be among the global solution to climate change.

By Simon Lefebvre | 2016-03-10

Sources: Renewable Energy World, HuffPost (image)