Mitigating Low Volume Methane Emissions

E. Emery & D. Anweiler, Energy/Process Development, Saskatchewan Research Council

December 2016

Executive Summary

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has several directives and bulletins that regulate the amount of associated gas that can be flared or vented. One of AER’s primary goals is to have the upstream petroleum industry further reduce the volume of solution gas routinely flared, incinerated, and vented. Volumes of gas higher than 900 m3 per day must be evaluated for conservation. If the economic evaluation of the conservation project has a net present value (NPV) of -$55,000 or better, then the producing company must implement the project. Even with these regulations, which are designed to reduce gas flaring and venting, there are 3.44 Mt CO2e of associated gas emissions vented directly to atmosphere in Alberta (based on 2011 data) (Alberta Government, 2013).

For Phase 1 of this stage-gated project with AUPRF, SRC has proposed to provide an updated scan of methane mitigation technologies, revisit research on the top two, and determine which is at a technical readiness level suitable for commercial validation and would be the most likely to succeed in a field trial. Phase 1 had a budget $25,000 and required 4 months to complete. If the project proceeds to Phase 2, SRC proposes to partner with an oil and gas producer to build and implement a commercial demonstration of the chosen technology. Once installed, the unit would be monitored over the course of six months to characterize its performance. This phase of the project would require about $200K and would take one year to complete.

There are many technologies, both commercial and demonstration, that can be applied to reduce methane venting in the oil and gas industry. In this report we have classified these technologies by method (prevention, capture, combustion, or conversion of the vented gas), and by type. Each type of mitigation technology has differing flow requirements, costs, technology readiness levels, and other advantages, and disadvantages.

For the base case scenario of 900 m3/d of wet sour gas production from a single well in a geographically isolated area, two technologies were of particular interest: tank covers, and biofilters. SRC recommends that AUPRF continue with Phase 2 of this project and validate the methane mitigation potential of tank covers and biofilters at a commercial demonstration scale. SRC is developing the Center for Demonstration of Emissions Reduction (C-DER) to facilitate this testing. It is also recommended that the scope of review of best practices in the oil and gas industry for reducing flaring and venting of methane be expanded to other jurisdictions worldwide.

Main Body of Report

Technical Appendices

Full Report

Summary Report

Best Management Practices

Project Outcomes & Tangible Benefits

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