U.S. rejection of methane limit spooks Canadian oilpatch

Crude oil is shown at the site of a pipeline break northeast of Peace River, Alta., on May 4, 2011.
Crude oil is shown at the site of a pipeline break northeast of Peace River, Alta., on May 4, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Ian Jackson

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says a vote Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives to axe limits on methane emissions from drilling operations threatens to harm the competitiveness of Canada’s energy industry.

Alex Ferguson, the vice-president of policy for CAPP, says Canada must work to reduce the costs the oil and gas industry will face as it implements mandated cuts to methane.

READ MORE: Catherine McKenna says oil sector market will decide Canada’s GHGs

Ferguson says those costs will make the Canadian industry less competitive than their American rivals that won’t have to cut emissions if the proposal to cancel methane limits is approved in the Senate and by President Donald Trump to become law.

Last March, then-U.S. president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly announced reductions in methane emissions and later joined forces with Mexico on a broader North American climate and clean energy strategy.

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Caitlin Workman, a spokeswoman for federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, said in an email Friday that the Trudeau government is proceeding with a plan to publish federal methane regulations for the oil and gas sector early this year despite the U.S. decision.

Ottawa has proposed requiring the oil and gas industry to cut emissions of methane by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025.

Methane is a greenhouse gas considered about 25 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

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