The Alberta energy sector has never faced more pressure to manage climate risks than it does today. Government regulations and standards are evolving and becoming more stringent on a routine basis, forcing companies to continuously raise the bar within their own operations.
But how can Alberta oil and gas companies both reduce costs and emissions? Is it possible to maintain profitability while investing in environmental innovation? And what strategies are most effective?
These are the big questions presently being posed by the oil and gas industry. And while the answers to these questions are wide-ranging, there are some certainties that businesses can bank on for the future. David Grossklaus, VP of Technology here at Catch Engineering, provided answers to the questions below. We hope you find them helpful!
How Can The Alberta Energy Sector Reduce Costs and Emissions in the Short-Term?
One of the most effective ways to quickly reduce costs and emissions is to retrofit existing equipment to reduce methane release.
After carbon dioxide, methane is the most detrimental greenhouse gas being released into the atmosphere. In fact, its impact on global warming is estimated to be 21X greater than that of carbon dioxide.
The great thing about adjusting equipment to eliminate methane emissions is that the process can be completed gradually or rapidly, depending on a company’s capabilities. Reducing venting from compressors, integrating solar power, upgrading to higher efficiency combustors, modernizing compressor equipment, and investing in the latest methane gas detector systems are all potential strategies that yield significant results.
How Can Alberta Oil and Gas Companies Reduce Costs and Emissions in the Long-Term?
There are countless ways to minimize the environmental impacts of oil and gas over time, so the answer to this question can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. But for the purpose of today’s post, we’ll be focusing on one of the most notable and worthwhile trends in the industry— automation.
Automation (the process of completing tasks using minimal human effort) is one of the most promising advances in modern technology. Within the oil and gas industry, automation can be used to reduce environmental impacts by:
- Making continuous, real-time data and diagnostics available to workers
- Improving the efficacy of preventative maintenance
- Lessening space, heat and energy requirements
Plus much more.
How Will These Strategies Reduce Costs?
Methane reduction, automation, and other environmental innovations bring financial benefits to the companies that implement them. While the upfront cost for these improvements may be considerable (depending on the scope of the project), expenditure is typically recouped over time.
Automation, for instance, improves cost-effectiveness by:
- Reducing labor costs
- Reducing system errors
- Minimizing maintenance costs
- Enhancing equipment and system reliability
- Increasing scalability
Furthermore, by reducing methane and carbon dioxide emissions, companies can avoid paying higher taxes while simultaneously improving operational efficiency.
Currently, Alberta oil and gas companies must pay $30.00 per tonne of carbon emissions. When you consider how many tonnes major operations emit, the math can be astonishing.
Let’s take a Major Oil/Gas producer, for example. The company produced 7.9 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019 (which was 7% less than they recorded for the previous year)— but even still, this amounts to a carbon tax payment of $216 million.
Of course, there are exemptions and other factors involved in the calculation of carbon tax payments, but this serves an example of just how costly emissions can be.
Ultimately, it is very likely that the amount you’ll spend to upgrade to more environmentally-friendly equipment and systems will be less than the amount you’ll spend in taxes. So it really is a matter of where you want the money to go. Investing in upgrades or new technologies ensures your companies reaps the benefits well into the future.
Why Engage Catch Engineering for Your Environmental Innovation Project?
We’ve been serving the oil and gas industry for 15+ years and we are trailblazers in the automation niche. We’ve worked with a myriad of companies to design, engineer, and implement cutting-edge solutions that improve sustainability and mitigate climate risks.
The knowledge we have gained from past projects and hands-on experience is one of our greatest assets. Our team has successfully navigated major shifts within the industry and has focused on developing repeatable designs and strategies that benefit our clients.
Are you looking for an engineering firm with demonstrable expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence? Reach out today. Let’s discuss how we can help you reduce costs and emissions so your operations can remain viable for years to come.