The Canadian government’s three-year delay in implementing methane gas regulations for the oil and gas industry won’t imperil “a wave of jobs in methane emissions management” that should flourish between now and 2023, the start date for regulations previously scheduled to take effect in 2020, says a new industry group.
According to a survey by the Methane Emissions Leadership Alliance (MELA), “80% of companies with methane management products and services expect to fill new positions in the next 12 to 18 months, while 40% anticipate their head count to grow by more than 100%,” JWN Energy reports. One surveyed company expected to expand its facilities and triple its staff “to meet the needs [of] customers striving for zero methane emissions.”
“With more than 70,000 well sites in Alberta alone, oil and gas producers will be looking for solutions to eliminate methane leaks and return this gas to the pipeline,” said Henri Tessier, operations manager for Edmonton-based Calscan Solutions. “This presents a tremendous opportunity to grow.”
Both Alberta’s Climate Plan and the Pan-Canadian Climate Framework target a 45% reduction in the petroleum sector’s methane emissions by 2025. But the future of the regulations meant to enact that goal has been thrown into doubt by a White House attempt (still to be concluded) to reverse the United States’ commitment to a similar limit. Last month, Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna delayed implementation of the Canadian regulations by 36 months.
Methane is a shorter-lived but much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And although it is generated from many sources—including livestock and melting permafrost—recent studies have found its presence in the oil and gas-producing regions of Alberta and British Columbia to be as much as 250% higher than previous government estimates.
And “despite the regulatory uncertainties at the federal level,” JWN writes, MELA Executive Director Jackson Hegland is confident of the industry growth spurt ahead. “Our analysis shows there is a real opportunity for business growth and job creation in the emerging methane management sector,” he said.