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Environment

U.S., Canada commit to methane reductions from oil and gas production

by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN
March 21, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 12

U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month jointly committed their nations to reduce methane emissions from existing oil and natural gas sources by 40 to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025. Their agreement notes that the oil and gas sector is the world’s largest source of industrial emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The Environmental Defense Fund, an activist group, says the oil and gas industry is responsible for 90% of U.S. methane emissions. Obama says EPA will begin developing regulations and start a formal process to require companies to provide data on methane emissions. Canada will propose rules by early 2017. In the past, EPA proposed to limit methane emissions from various sources, including oil and gas production facilities, but ran into industry opposition. The American Petroleum Institute says regulations would curb the current U.S. oil and gas bonanza, adding that the petroleum industry’s methane emissions are declining. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers supports a bilaterally aligned regulatory approach to limit methane as spelled out in the agreement.

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