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Methane emissions reduced by nearly 50% in Saskatchewan

FILE -In this June 12, 2014 file photo, oil pumps and natural gas burn off in Watford City, N.D. The Canadian Press/AP - Charles Rex Arbogast

Methane emissions from vented and flared gas at upstream oil facilities in Saskatchewan have been reduced by almost 50 per cent over a five-year period.

The Saskatchewan government released the findings in a new report on Monday.

Read more: Climate-changing methane emissions from oil and gas twice as high as thought — study

The Oil and Gas Emissions Management Regulations (OGEMR) Annual Emissions Report found that methane emissions totalled 5.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, down from 10.9 million tonnes in 2015.

The report said the reduction is the equivalent of taking more than 1.1 million vehicles off the roads.

The government said its initial goal under its 2019 methane action plan was to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent from 2015 levels by 2025.

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Now the province says the latest data indicates the target may be met before then.

“Our provincial oil and gas sector has made substantial progress in reducing methane emissions and has, in fact, surpassed current reduction targets,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said in a statement

“If other energy-producing nations around the world emulated Saskatchewan’s sustainable practices and high regulatory standards, including around methane, global energy-produced emissions would instantly fall by 25 per cent.”

Read more: Federal government finalizes methane reduction deals with B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan

This year, the government announced $500,000 to support innovative research and technology, carried out by the Saskatchewan Research Council, applied to measuring gas volumes and monitoring emissions in the oil and gas sector.

The government also announced a five-year moratorium on associated gas royalties, which encourages the upstream oil and gas sector to invest in methane reduction projects, in its 2021 budget.

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