The Alberta government is spending $52 million on projects aimed at reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, including helping companies pay for equipment to make them more green.
The programs, announced Friday in Red Deer, are the latest to be funded out of the $750-million Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund that the government plans to spend this year, and are part of the province’s goal to cut methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025, Environment Minister Jason Nixon said Friday.
“Alberta was the first regional government in North America to commit to methane management and through our real-world approach, we’re on target to cut methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025, which is a remarkable feat,” he said.
“By funding technology and innovation in our industries, Alberta will reach our goals.”
Approximately $25 million of the $52 million is going towards a new program to help upstream oil and gas companies buy technology to reduce methane emissions.
Dubbed the Methane Technology Implementation Program (MTIP), it is being managed by Calgary-based Carbon Connect International and will offer qualifying Alberta companies up to 50 per cent of the cost of the new equipment, to a maximum of $1 million per operator.
“MTIP will enable operators to achieve immediate methane emission reductions. It will support the most innovative and agile industrial complex in the oil and gas world right here in Alberta,” said Darcy Spady, managing partner with Carbon Connect International.
The money will be used to buy new equipment or make improvements to existing equipment.
The remainder of the $52 million will be “used to develop a more accurate understanding of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and identify opportunities to improve their detection and reduction,” Nixon said.
Approximately $10 million is being spent on a Baseline and Reduction Opportunity Assessment Program.
It will help small and medium-sized operators that produce fewer than 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day identify and quantify their methane emissions sources on-site and learn what they need to do to meet or exceed provincial regulations.
The program is expected to launch in the late fall.
The last $17 million is going toward a Fugitive Emissions Management Program to pay for research that helps oil and gas operators detect, repair and measure methane emissions.
More details on that program are also expected in the fall.
The TIER fund was created by the UCP government to replace the previous carbon tax. This version of a levy collects money from large industry emitters when they do not meet emissions targets.
The government estimates that spending the entire $750 million in the fund will create 3,400 jobs and when paired with money from other levels of government, will be worth $1.9 billion and as many as 8,700 jobs.
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