The Cenovus Alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program - still in flight

February 2022 – Innovation continues to take flight at Cenovus Energy! We have entered the second year of our partnership with Bridger Photonics to conduct aerial methane screenings across our conventional operations as part of our Alberta Energy Regulator-approved Alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program (Alt-FEMP) pilot.

“We are committed to reducing methane emissions from our operations and have spent the last two years implementing a methane emissions monitoring program which utilizes alternative technologies and employs a novel approach,” explains Sean Hiebert, Emissions Management Engineer at Cenovus.

“Implementing this program has helped detect, quantify and mitigate methane emissions from our operations more efficiently than methods used in the past and has provided high quality data to help us implement our long-term methane emissions reduction strategy.”

Methane emissions monitoring is required by regulation, and traditional programs require ground-based surveys up to three times per year using traditional hand-held tools. Although this method of monitoring is effective at detecting and quantifying methane emissions, it is costly, time consuming and requires extensive ground travel.

Alt-fempSo how does the Alt-FEMP program work? We first deploy the Bridger Photonics Gas Mapping methane sensor via airplane to screen our operations from above. As the small fixed-wing aircraft flies over our facilities, the system takes a series of high-definition images using laser-based methane sensing technologies. This provides us with detailed imagery showing methane emission overlays for each site. This is an effective and innovative way to capture consistent, high-resolution data that helps us understand our emissions footprint and determine where we should prioritize our emission reduction efforts.

Based on the results of aerial screening, we then compare results to identify the top emitting locations, conduct ground-based follow-up surveys at the top 10% emitting locations to confirm emission findings and develop site-specific methane emission reduction action plans. This information is extremely important to us as it will help form the backbone of our Methane Reduction Roadmap.

“We are very proud of this pilot program and will continue it before looking at how to incorporate it into our long-term methane reduction strategy,” says Sean. “This pilot has helped us efficiently highlight what sites – and areas within those sites - deserve our emission reductions efforts. Alternative detection technologies will be a big part of our emission management strategy moving forward and will help us reduce emissions and achieve our climate and GHG targets.”

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