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Reducing emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas sector

In March 2021, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to set sectoral targets covering emissions across the economy.  

In March 2023, B.C. announced the New Energy Action Framework, establishing that the target for the oil and gas sector would be met by way of a made-in-B.C. oil and gas emissions cap. 

On Dec. 7, 2023, the Government of Canada published the Regulatory Framework for an Oil and Gas Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap, which is expected to be in place in 2026.  

The oil and gas industry is currently responsible for around 50% of industrial emissions and 20% of B.C.’s total emissions, and represents 2% of B.C.’s economy (based on the sector’s contribution to GDP). 

The sectoral target for the oil and gas industry aims to reduce emissions 33% to 38% below 2007 levels by 2030.  

The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 committed that the Province would implement policies and programs to ensure the oil and gas sector meets its sectoral targets. 

According to the most-recent information from the federal government, emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas sector have gone down by 13% since 2007 and 10% since 2018.

This means emissions from oil and gas sector have been reduced from 13.6 megatonnes (MT) in 2007, to 11.9 MT in 2021.

The Province has also reduced methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 50%, exceeding its target to reduce methane emissions by 45% by 2025.

This progress can be attributed to several factors, including electrification using B.C.’s clean power, effective carbon pricing for industry and reductions in fugitive methane emissions.

However, without further action, such as an oil and gas emissions cap, oil and gas emissions are expected to increase between now and 2030.

A regulatory cap on the sector’s emissions puts B.C. in position to meet its 2030 target of 9.1 MT emitted per year – a 33% reduction from 2007.