Canada: Canada Announces Regulations To Reduce Oil And Gas Emissions

On May 25, the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced regulations to reduce the emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from Canada's oil and gas sector. The Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain VOCs – Upstream Oil and Gas Sector (Methane Regulations) and Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of VOCs – Petroleum Sector (VOC Regulations) have been published in the Canada Gazette for a 60-day comment period.

What You Need To Know

  • The proposed Methane Regulations will be phased in starting in 2020 and fully implemented by 2023. This is later than the 2020 target for full implementation as indicated by earlier plans. According to the Minister's announcement, the revised timeline is not anticipated to affect the overall methane reduction goal for the oil and gas sector (i.e., 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2025) as described by the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
  • The Methane Regulations contain both general requirements and requirements that apply to facilities producing and receiving at least 60,000 m3 of methane gas in a year. Targeted emission sources will include fugitive equipment leaks, well completions by hydraulic fracturing, compressors, facility production venting, and pneumatic devices. The regulations are expected to lead to methane emissions reductions of 21 megatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) by 2025 (a 41% drop from 2012 levels) and 282 Mt CO2e cumulative between 2018 and 2035.
  • The proposed VOC Regulations would require the operators of petroleum refineries, upgraders and certain petrochemical facilities to implement leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs, ensure certain equipment components to prevent leaks, and to monitor VOC levels at facility perimeters. According to the May 25 announcement, these regulations would apply to a total of 26 facilities across Canada, and are expected to help eliminate 102 kilotonnes in VOC emissions between 2017 and 2035.
  • Interested parties may provide comments on the proposed regulations until July 27, 2017.

Highlights of the Proposed Regulations

Methane Regulations

The proposed Methane Regulations set out facility and equipment level requirements to reduce fugitive and venting emissions of methane and certain VOCs from the Canadian oil and gas sector. Based on the federal government's estimate, about 20% of Canada's crude oil facilities, which are responsible for about 75% of vented emissions, would have to take action under these regulations. The main regulatory requirements are as follows:

  • LDAR. As of January 1, 2020, upstream oil and gas facilities (except single well-heads) would need to put in place LDAR programs, including three or more inspections per year. Repairs that can be completed on operating equipment must be done within 30 days of detection. If a scheduled shutdown is necessary, corrective action must take place before the volume of gas from the leak exceeds the volume that would be released by shutting down the equipment. Where the equipment at issue is on an offshore facility and can only be repaired during a shutdown, such repairs are to be undertaken within 365 days.
  • Well completions by hydraulic fracturing. Where an upstream oil and gas facility includes a well that undergoes hydraulic fracturing and whose production has a gas-to-oil ratio of at least 53:1, then methane emissions from the facility would need to be conserved or destroyed (rather than vented) as of January 1, 2020. This requirement would not apply to British Columbia or Alberta due to existing provincial measures.
  • Compressors. As of January 1, 2020, the flow rate of methane emissions from sealing systems would be required at least once per year. Corrective action would need to be taken if those emissions exceed 0.023 m3/minute for reciprocating compressors and 0.17 m3/minute for centrifugal compressors. Compressors installed on or after January 1, 2020 would be required to capture gas from sealing systems.
  • Facility production venting. As of January 1, 2023, upstream oil and gas facilities would be required to limit vented volumes of methane to 250 m3 in a month. Vented gas is to be captured for on-site use, injected underground, transferred to a sales pipeline, or routed to a flare. This limit does not apply where the cumulative volume of methane vented or destroyed at, or delivered from, a facility was less than 40,000 m3 in the previous 12 consecutive months.
  • Pneumatic controllers. Controllers at facilities with a total compressor power rating of 745 kW or more would be prohibited from functioning using methane as of January 1, 2023. Controllers at other facilities (with compressor power rating of less than 745 kW) may function using methane only if it runs at an operational setting for which the design bleed rate is 0.17 m3/h or less.
  • Pneumatic pumps. As of January 1, 2023, unless otherwise authorized by a permit issued under the Methane Regulations, pneumatic pumps would be prohibited from functioning using methane if it has, in a month, pumped more than 20 L of liquid per day on average.

VOC Regulations

Generally speaking, the VOC Regulations would apply to petroleum refineries, upgraders and certain petrochemical facilities. The current proposal includes the following:

  • LDAR. Facility operators would be required to implement LDAR programs for undertaking inspections (at least three per year) and repairs, as well as maintaining an inventory of equipment components. Any identified leak would need to be quantified prior to repairs being carried out. "Significant leaks" are to be repaired within specified timelines. While the LDAR requirements are proposed to take effect on July 1, 2019, only one inspection would be required for equipment components in the inventory (rather than three) in order to allow facilities time to implement the more comprehensive program beginning in 2020.
  • Preventive equipment requirements. As of July 1, 2019, for purposes of minimizing releases into the environment, facility operators would need to ensure that the applicable design and operating criteria are met with respect to certain equipment components, including open-ended lines, sampling systems, pressure relief devices, and compressors.
  • Fenceline monitoring. As of January 1, 2018, facility operators would be required to establish sampling locations along the perimeter of the facility and to collect and analyze samples in accordance with specified criteria. These criteria align with specific elements of U.S. EPA Methods 325A and 325B relating to VOCs from fugitive and area sources.
  • Other requirements. The VOC Regulations also include requirements relating to recordkeeping, reporting and audits, which are proposed to come into effect on January 1, 2018 in relation to fenceline monitoring, and on July 1, 2019 in relation to LDAR and preventive equipment. Annual reports and third-party audit reports would be required starting in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

Next Steps

Until July 27, 2017, interested stakeholders may submit comments regarding the proposed regulations to the contacts set out in the Canada Gazette postings.

For further details, please see the Government of Canada's website and the regulatory text and impact statement for each of the Methane Regulations and VOC Regulations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions