B.C. methane pollution demands tougher actionPembina Institute reacts to province’s draft methane regulations

Jan. 16, 2019

Methane pollution from B.C.’s gas sector is currently underreported. Image: Earthworks

VANCOUVER / MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH & TSLEIL-WAUTUTH TERRITORIES — Maximilian Kniewasser, director of the B.C. clean economy program at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the B.C. government’s release of draft methane regulations:

“While B.C.’s draft methane regulations are a step in the right direction, they represent a missed opportunity to ensure the oil and gas sector does its fair share — at low cost — to help achieve B.C.’s climate targets by curbing methane pollution. By leaving cost-effective emissions reductions on the table, the proposed methane regulations do not live up to the spirit of B.C.’s ambitious new climate plan, CleanBC.

“The B.C. government promises the nascent LNG industry will produce the cleanest LNG in the world. This is simply not possible without world-leading climate policies, including stronger methane regulations. In their current form, the draft methane regulations fail to match best practices already implemented in other jurisdictions. Under the draft regulations, carbon pollution from LNG development and the gas sector would remain higher than necessary.

“One bright spot in the draft regulations is B.C.’s intention to set a high standard with respect to requiring new, zero-emitting equipment, such as pneumatic devices. However, the draft methane regulations fall short of requiring best practices for upkeep and maintenance. As with oil and gas production across North America, B.C.’s gas sector emits substantially more methane pollution than reported, mostly due to unintentional leaks.

“Frequent leak detection and repair inspection (three times per year) will only be required at seven per cent of oil and gas facilities in B.C., compared to almost half under federal regulations. This puts into question whether the B.C. draft regulations can meet equivalency with the federal regulations. We encourage the provincial government and the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission to bring forward stronger regulations to align with those of other leading jurisdictions.”

Quick facts

  • B.C.’s gas sector accounts for 11.7 million tonnes of annual carbon pollution, or 19 per cent of the province’s total emissions. The sector is already the largest source of industrial emissions and is forecasted to grow further with LNG development.
  • Reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas sector is one of the cheapest opportunities to reduce carbon pollution across the economy. To achieve the planned 45 per cent reduction costs just $2.76 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) reduced, compared to a carbon tax of $35 per tonne (scheduled to increase to $50 per tonne by 2021) in the rest of the economy.
  • Methane pollution from B.C.’s gas sector is currently underreported. Recent studies estimate real world emissions are at least 2.5 times higher than reported.


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Stephen Hui
Communications Lead, Pembina Institute
Tw: @StephenHui


Backgrounder: Limiting Methane Pollution from B.C.’s Gas Sector

Media release: Photos from B.C.’s leaking methane gas wells confirm need for stronger regulations

Backgrounder: Liquefied Natural Gas, Carbon Pollution, and British Columbia in 2017

Report: Economic Analysis of Methane Emission Reduction Opportunities in the Canadian Oil and Natural Gas Industries

About the Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. Learn more: www.pembina.org


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