Ottawa invests $2.2M to reduce methane emissions in oil and gas sector

The federal government is investing $2.2 million in two projects intended to reduce methane emissions in Canada's oil and gas sector.

The greenhouse gas is significantly more potent than carbon dioxide

MPs James Maloney, Randy Boissonnault and Kim Rudd announce a federal government investment in methane reduction research. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The federal government is investing $2.2 million in two projects intended to reduce methane emissions in Canada's oil and gas sector. 

"Methane is not something that comes to everyone's mind, but it's 25 times more toxic, if you will, than carbon dioxide," said Kim Rudd, parliamentary secretary to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, at Tuesday's announcement in Calgary.

"I'll give another shout out to Alberta and the oil and gas sector. Methane has been one of the challenges they've been working on for a number of years, and, indeed, they're coming up with their own solutions."

Kim Rudd, parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources, says there isn't as much awareness of methane as carbon dioxide. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The government is investing $1.6 million with Clearstone Engineering Ltd. and $600,000 with Patro Research Ltd. to detect and find cost-effective ways to reduce methane emissions, with a goal to cut them by 45 per cent from 2012 levels by 2025.

Rudd was accompanied by Natural Resources Committee chair James Maloney and Edmonton MP Randy Boissonnault for the announcement.

Alberta has been criticized by environmental groups for not having regulations strong enough to help Canada meet its methane reduction goals. 

Craig Fairbridge, managing director of Patro Research Ltd., said methane emissions monitoring and reduction is a challenging but vital task, as the amount of venting that occurs can vary wildly.

"It's a moving target. These technologies are changing, and the regulations still have a timeline we need to address," he said.

Rudd said the clean technology investment won't just help Canada meet goals set in the Paris Agreement, but could also create export and business opportunities abroad.

The two companies were chosen through an industry-government roundtable, and the funding comes from the Natural Resources Canada's Energy Innovation Program.

"We've taken away those silos and have really looked at where collaboration can move things forward," said Rudd.