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The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) announces the release of Directive 084: Requirements for Hydrocarbon Emission Controls and Gas Conservation in the Peace River Area.
A draft of the directive was released for stakeholder feedback on October 8, 2015. The feedback period closed on November 8, 2015. A summary of the feedback and the AER’s response is available on the Directive 084 web page on the AER website, www.aer.ca.
Section 8.4 of Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules and section 8.7 of Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting contain requirements specific to the Peace River area. These requirements have been consolidated and updated in the new directive. Directive 056, section 8.4, and Directive 060, section 8.7, will be revised in due course.
Except as noted below, the new Directive 084 becomes effective on April 1, 2017, and applies to heavy oil and bitumen operations in the Peace River area of Alberta (defined in figure 1 of the directive). Different effective dates are summarized in the table below and are listed in the relevant sections of the directive:
|Section Effective Date|
|Section 4, “Nonroutine Flaring”||March 1, 2019|
|Section 7, “Truck Loading and Unloading and Tank Cleaning and Desanding”||September 1, 2018|
The requirements in section 6, “Fugitive Emissions,” are in effect once the venting control requirements are met. The first monthly fugitive emissions leak reports must be submitted to the AER by July 18, 2017.
In addition to the truck loading and unloading requirements in Directive 084, transportation of heavy oil and bitumen must comply with all existing requirements, including the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Any questions or concerns should be reported to Alberta Transportation’s Co-ordination and Information Centre at 1-800-272-9600 or 780 422-9600.
Requirements in existing AER directives continue to apply, including the Directive 060 requirement that venting or fugitive emissions must not result in any offensive hydrocarbon odours outside the lease boundary.
The new directive responds to odour and emissions concerns expressed by residents of the Peace River area. In July 2013, the AER’s chief hearing commissioner assigned a panel of independent AER hearing commissioners to conduct an inquiry and write a report with findings and recommendations. The panel released its report, Report of Recommendations on Odours and Emissions in the Peace River Area, on March 31, 2014. The recommendations in the report were divided into various categories: geology, health, operations, monitoring and modelling, regulatory, and stakeholder engagement. The operations section included recommendations to eliminate routine and nonroutine venting, limit flaring, increase gas conservation, and limit emissions and odours from fugitive sources and from truck-loading and unloading activities. On April 15, 2014, the AER accepted the recommendations and provided assurance that the outcomes that were expressed in the report, and that were within AER’s jurisdiction, would be met. This directive addresses 11 of those 17 recommendations, while the other 6 have either already been addressed (e.g., revisions to Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting), did not require regulatory changes (e.g., scientific research into the geology of the area), or are ongoing (e.g., stakeholder engagement).
On January 21, 2016, the AER launched a Peace River performance dashboard on www.aer.ca that shows how heavy oil and bitumen operators in the Peace River area are doing in their efforts to reduce hydrocarbon emissions that contribute to odours.
For more information on the progress we have made on the Peace River recommendations, please visit our Taking Action in Peace River page on our website.
Directive 084 is available on the AER website, www.aer.ca. Printed copies of the directive can be purchased from AER Order Fulfillment, Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW; telephone: 403-297-8311; fax: 403-297-7040; email InformationRequest@aer.ca.