Saskatchewan announces support for new gas measurement and monitoring technology

The Government of Saskatchewan announced $500,000 to support innovative research and technology applied to measuring gas volumes and monitoring emissions in the oil and gas sector. 

This builds on work under the provincial Methane Action Plan (MAP) and the methane equivalency agreement signed with the federal government in September, 2020.

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"This applied research, which will be overseen by the internationally-respected Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), is an important investment in public science," Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. "We are concerned that the federal government is relying on methane data from studies that were not actually carried out in Saskatchewan, which has unique reservoir and geological characteristics. This research will be Saskatchewan-specific."

Eyre has asked federal Ministers Jonathan Wilkinson and Seamus O'Regan to share federal methane data with Saskatchewan.

"Unfortunately, only limited data has been provided to us," Eyre said. "Surely, if assessments are going to be made about provincial methane emissions, we should be able to access and analyze un-exaggerated, reliable data that is fully transparent and shared."

With the gas measurement and monitoring funding announced today, $300,000 will be applied to research into cost-effective technology for measurement of associated gas volumes from heavy oil wells. This is a joint research and development project with Alberta.

The SRC will also receive $200,000 to support applied research related to innovative data transmission, analysis and emission-monitoring technology in collaboration with SaskTel and private Saskatchewan oil and gas operators.

"We will work collaboratively with stakeholders to measure gas volumes from wells on the prairies," SRC president and CEO Mike Crabtree said. "Measurement and monitoring will be key areas of focus in order to meet methane emission reduction targets in Saskatchewan."

Saskatchewan has in place world-leading regulations and data collection processes around methane measurement and reporting. Since 2017, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources has invested almost $3 million in further enhancing regulation, including more staff, inspections, audit powers and penalty provisions.

MAP is an ambitious, made-in-Saskatchewan plan, which includes an outcome-based regulatory regime that will reduce GHG emissions from flaring and venting in the upstream oil and gas industry by 40 to 45 per cent from 2015 levels by 2025, the equivalent of 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

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