Updated April 2021
Petrinex Vent Data
Volumes of gas that are vented, flared, or consumed as fuel for each oil and gas site have been reported through Petrinex since 2004 and we have publicly reported these volumes each year in our ST60B: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring and Venting Report. The table below highlights annual vent gas volumes dating back to 2010. These volumes include both routine and nonroutine venting but do not include fugitive emissions (unintentional hydrocarbon releases to atmosphere).
You can see that overall venting has been decreasing since 2014. The vent gas volumes reported in 2020 are greater than those reported in 2019. This is not an increase in venting. This is a shift in volume from one reporting category to another. The definition for vent gas was revised as part of the methane reduction requirements. Starting in 2020, volumes that would have previously been reported as fuel gas are now being reported as vent gas. For example, the previous definition of gas used to drive a pneumatic device was fuel gas. Since this gas is ultimately vented to the atmosphere, we changed the definition of this gas to vent gas and now it is reported as vent in Petrinex.
You can also see that gas facilities are increasing venting at a higher rate than other facilities. This is because these facilities are more impacted by definition changes than others.
Operator Total Vent Performance
Using Petrinex data, we can also look at the performance of companies relative to each other. While total vent volume may place an operator at the top of the list, the emission intensity of that operator may put them in the middle of the pack. Meeting our emission reduction targets will depend on total vent volume reductions, but a key performance indicator will be venting intensity.
The table below shows the top 25 operators by reported vent volumes, including total production and venting intensity; you can see how the companies vary in production and their venting intensity.
OneStop Data Validation
The AER began receiving source specific and fugitive emission methane data through OneStop in 2020. The methane volumes reported in 2020 were lower than what we expected based on emission estimates for provincial upstream oil and gas facilities. There may be a couple of reasons for the difference: incomplete reporting by industry and over-estimating by the AER. To understand why this difference is occurring, we are undertaking an extensive data validation exercise that includes record audits and field-level methane inspections.
Our goal is to identify and resolve as many reporting issues as we can through this validation exercise and work with industry to amend current reporting and reduce future issues.
What we have found so far is that there are some commonly occurring issues that are resulting in under-reported emissions, including the following:
- Under-reported vent gas to OneStop – identified inconsistencies when comparing Petrinex and OneStop vent volumes.
- Under-reported or missing pneumatic reporting – audits identified under-reported pneumatic inventories or inventories that had not been submitted at all.
- Compressor vent gas reporting – identified inconsistencies when comparing OneStop compressor volumes to the detailed compressor inventory.
- Compressor pressurized hours – identified cases where compressor volumes were reported while the compressor run time was zero.
- Glycol dehydrator reporting – identified inconsistencies between the dehydrator inventory details and the emissions reported to OneStop.
Once these issues were identified and confirmed, we began to contact industry and request amendments to 2019 data. To date, these efforts have resulted in volumes amendments of approximately 350 000 tCO2e.
We encourage industry to review the list of issues provided above and make amendments to 2019 data. The AER expects industry will have reliable and accurate reporting and that they will ensure these errors are not present in the 2020 report submissions.