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Upgrading instruments at our sites takes a big bite out of methane emissions

Instrument that was converted to leak less methane into the atmosphere
An example of an instrument that was converted to leak less methane into the atmosphere.

June 2020 – Out with the old, in with the new! Within our conventional oil and natural gas asset base, we’re working hard to reduce our methane emissions by replacing thousands of older instruments, like transducers and pressure controllers, that run on pressurized natural gas. Many of these older instruments – so-called “high-bleed” instruments – normally emit high volumes of methane to the atmosphere. To reduce or prevent methane emissions, we are working towards swapping them out for new “low-bleed” or “no-bleed” devices. About 1,000 of these instrument switches made through the end of 2019 alone have resulted in carbon dioxide (CO2) savings equivalent to almost 11,000 cars taken off the road for one year. And we’re not done yet.

A solar-powered pump
A solar-powered pump that replaced a natural-gas operated and methane venting pneumatic pump.

Because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas (GHG) than other GHGs such as CO2, reducing methane that’s vented or flared into the atmosphere at our sites is an important part of our overall commitment to reduce emissions. In addition to replacing “high-bleed” instruments, we’ve also been switching chemical injection pumps fueled by natural gas with solar-powered pumps and installing various devices to capture natural gas that would otherwise be vented, so we can use it as fuel.

Our long track record of proactively working to reduce methane emissions dates back to about 2010, long before provincial and federal regulations required operators to reduce methane emissions 45 percent from 2014 levels by 2025. Company-wide, we’re working toward that target. However, our teams have already reduced methane emissions at our conventional assets by as much as 60 percent from 2014 levels, partly through our technology improvements, as well as through asset sales and by reducing the number of wells in operation. Over the years, that’s added up to total CO2 savings equivalent to almost 220,000 cars taken off the road. Throughout 2020, we plan to continue to upgrade our equipment to lower our methane emissions further.