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Sulphur is a resource that is used to manufacture fertilizers, paper, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cosmetics, and steel, among other products. It is also used to produce sulphuric acid, the world's most widely used chemical. Energy companies in Alberta must submit applications to us and receive our approval before they can recover sulphur.

Where does sulphur come from?

Companies recover sulphur during the processing of sour gas, which takes place at gas plants and in situ facilities. We require companies to recover and conserve as much sulphur as possible. To recover sulphur at a gas plant, the following steps are used:

  • Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is removed from the sour gas that comes out of a well.
  • The plant heats and cools the remaining gas using furnaces, which causes the sulphur to drop out.
  • Sulphur is removed at the end of the upgrading process using a sulphur recovery unit.
  • Sulphur is collected and either shipped as a liquid or a solid from the gas plant and then sold.

Our Detailed Requirements

Our requirements are based on the amount of sulphur a gas plant produces. Following section 11 of Directive 017: Measurement Requirements for Oil and Gas Operations, companies must monitor, record, and submit their sulphur recovery to us on a regular basis.

Interim Directive (ID) 2001-03: Sulphur Recovery Guidelines for the Province of Alberta also discusses sulphur emissions and how to handle sulphur properly.

Compliance and Enforcement

We conduct regular inspections and audits to make sure that companies are following our requirements. If we find that a company isn’t complying, we’ll take the appropriate compliance and enforcement actions and share our findings on the Compliance Dashboard.