Proposed Amendments to the Federal Methane Regulations for the Oil and Gas Sector

Last updated: 8 March 2024

These proposals are intended to amend the 2018 Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. These regulations are designed to ensure the observance of Canada's methane emissions reduction target for the oil and gas sector of a 40-45% reduction below 2012 levels by 2025 and at least 75% reduction below 2012 levels by 2030.
The proposed amendments target key sources of emissions and introduce new management, mitigation and compliance approaches. 

  • Venting hydrocarbon gas is prohibited except under limited circumstances. All pressurised equipment must be connected to conservation or destruction equipment, and measures should be taken to minimise venting during planned equipment maintenance or temporary depressurisation. 
  • Combustion systems must with a pilot flame, an automatic ignition device and an automatic flame failure detection system, and in the case of hydrocarbon gas combustion, a minimum carbon conversion efficiency of 98% must be achieved. For catalytic oxidation systems, a minimum carbon conversion efficiency of 85% must be achieved, not to exceed 60 cubic metres of gas per day.
  • Flaring, outside of health and safety emergency conditions, must be supported by an engineering study proving the infeasibility of gas utilisation. Beginning in 2027, facilities that are increasing gas production must design systems to limit emissions resulting from combustion and to eliminate routine flaring. 
  • A risk-based fugitive emissions management approach will require facilities that are more likely to emit methane (Type 1 facilities) to maintain an inspection schedule of 12 screenings and 4 comprehensive assessments per year. Lower risk sites (Type 2 facilities) will be required to undergo annual assessments, and all facilities will be required to undertake annual inspections conducted by an auditor. Inspections must be conducted using instruments with a standard minimum detection limit of 500 ppm, and repair timeline requirements will be dependent on the detected emission rate.
  • An alternative, performance-based approach for regulation compliance with flaring and venting requirements is available to facilities that choose to install continuous monitoring systems for potential methane emission sources. Upon detection, mitigation measures should be implemented on a timeline corresponding to the emission rate. For emission rates exceeding 10 kg per hour, facilities must conduct an event analysis.

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