Canadian group eyes oil-sands emissions

Producers in Alberta’s oil sands would face new reporting requirements and controls that toughened with rising emission rates under recommendations by a group advising the provincial government.

Producers in Alberta’s oil sands would face new reporting requirements and controls that toughened with rising emission rates under recommendations by a group advising the provincial government.

The Oil Sands Advisory Group (OSAG) disclosed its recommendations after the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) predicted output from the oil sands will increase by 1.3 million b/d during 2016-30 (OGJ Online, June 14, 2017).

Alberta created OSAG last year to assist with regulations aimed at limiting to 100 million tonnes/year the greenhouse gas emissions associated with oil-sands production (OGJ Online, July 14, 2016).

OSAG recommended the province require “best available technology economically achievable” in new facilities and expansions.

It also recommended preparation of greenhouse gas management plans and a “technology roadmap” covering costs of abatement technologies.

Greenhouse-gas emissions from the oil sands now total about 70 million tonnes/year of carbon dioxide-equivalent. Under the OSAG recommendations, reviews would tighten as emissions reached thresholds of 80 million tonnes/year and 95 million tonnes/year and when a 10-year forecast indicated that the 100-million-tonne/year cap would be reached within 5 years.

Abatement measures in the recommendations include emission allowances, mandatory emission reductions by facilities with high emission intensities, suspension of project approvals, and penalties for emissions above authorized levels.

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