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Updated January 2022

The methane reduction requirements are a significant change to how industry manages and reports methane. Better industry understanding of and compliance with the requirements will be critical to successfully reducing methane emissions. To improve understanding and ensure compliance, we are carrying out the following activities:

We have invested in methane detection equipment to better our understanding of emissions, detect potential noncompliances, and help drive better industry performance. The detection equipment we are using includes the following:

  • Optical gas imaging cameras used by methane field inspectors across the province
  • Truck-mounted methane sensors
  • Drones with gas imaging cameras that can monitor methane plumes
  •  Vent gas metering equipment

Learn more about compliance assurance at the AER.

Remote Sensing Pilots

In 2020, we conducted our second remote sensing pilot that used technologies such as satellite-, airplane-, and truck-mounted methane sensors as emissions compliance tools. The objective of the pilot was to determine if there are technologies available that could serve as regional surveillance tools for emissions compliance.

For the 2020 pilot program, we used an airplane-mounted methane sensor over 1435 km2 and approximately 3000 facilities to collect site-level methane data. Of these 3000 facilities only 9 were identified as having emissions greater than 375 m3/day. To validate these detections in the field, we sent methane inspectors to 108 of sites the sites that were flown over. Of these 108 sites, 25 appeared to have high volumes of emissions that were undetected or not present at the time of the fly-over. This may speak to both the variability in emission releases and the importance of understanding the detection capabilities of screening technologies.

Emissions data from the 2020 pilot was used to evaluate limit exceedances, but they are only snapshot detections in time and are not solely able to confirm a noncompliance. In the map below, you will see the locations of both the 2019 and 2020 remote sensing pilots that were conducted by the AER in Alberta. Click on the coloured blocks to see details of each pilot.

In the map below you will see the locations of the 2019 and 2020 remote sensing pilots conducted by the AER in Alberta. Click on the coloured blocks to see details of each pilot. 

Remote Sensing Pilot Locations

Click on the double arrow in the top left corner of the map to see the legend and map details. 

Click here for a pdf map of the remote sensing pilot locations. We learned the following important lessons from these pilots:

  1. Remote sensing technologies that can detect emission rates near our compliance limits are valuable tools for assessing risk as part of our compliance program. 
  2. The role our methane inspectors play in validating aerial surveillance data is critical in getting a more comprehensive picture of the emissions being observed during these screenings.  
  3. It is important that detection technologies undergo robust performance testing so that the capabilities of the technology are well understood and can be clearly communicated.  

The AER plans to continue remote sensing campaigns annually to collect compliance data and to help direct where ground-based methane inspections will occur.