Alberta sour gas plants may get government help

Alberta�s energy minister says the province may pick up part of the estimated $227 million (Can.) cost of upgrading older sour natural gas plants to meet more stringent emission standards.

Apr 30th, 2000


CALGARY�Alberta�s energy minister says the province may pick up part of the estimated $227 million (Can.) cost of upgrading older sour natural gas plants to meet more stringent emission standards.

Steve West said most Albertans would understand that, when there is a change in standards, they would share in that cost. Earlier, West had indicated the government would not be involved in cost sharing.

A new report to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB) recommends that energy companies be given reduced provincial royalty rates to cover 50% of the cost of upgrading 64 older gas plants. Sulfur emissions and gas flaring by the industry in Alberta have been the target of complaints by environmentalists and residents in affected areas.

The report to AEUB by an independent panel proposes companies get 20 more years to bring old gas plants up to 1988 standards through an annual emission reduction of 7.5%. These plants were not included originally in a more stringent emissions policy because they were not expected to be in operation for long. But technical improvements have extended their operating life span.

The report to AEUB also considers standards for sulfur recovery for heavy oil upgraders and refineries and proliferation guidelines for small gas plants that are currently exempted from emission regulations.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it is pleased with the cost-sharing recommendations for gas plant upgrades.

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