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Study finds climate-changing methane emissions from oilpatch twice as high as thought

Last Updated Nov 12, 2020 at 9:52 am MDT

Pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M.on April 24, 2015The group representing Canada's oil and gas industry says a U.S. proposal to ease regulations on reducing methane emissions will create another competitive advantage for American producers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is following President Donald Trump's directive to remove regulatory burdens on the oil and gas industries by rescinding many of the requirements on oil and gas sites to monitor for methane leaks and plug them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charlie Riedel

OTTAWA – A newly published study concludes that emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from oil and gas production are twice as high as previously thought.

The research by Environment Canada scientists says previous measurements weren’t accounting for all sources of methane, a climate-changing gas about 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Lead author Doug Worthy says methane estimates in Canada’s national inventory will have to be increased as a result of the findings.

The paper was published days after the federal government, Alberta and Saskatchewan signed agreements on reducing methane.

Dale Marshall of the group Environmental Defence says those agreements weakened restrictions on the same methane sources the new research has uncovered.

Canada has said it will reduce methane emissions by 45 per cent in the next five years, but the government’s own estimates suggest it won’t reach that target.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press