Flaring and venting is regulatedAs part of routine operations, natural gas is flared through controlled burning. Flaring is also critical to the safety of operations, reducing facility pressures in emergency and other non-routine events. Venting is the controlled release of gases into the air as part of natural gas operations. Both flaring and venting release greenhouse gases (including methane), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) into the atmosphere.
In Alberta, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) uses Directive 60 to regulate flaring, venting and incinerating at oil and natural gas operations. The AER set targets for gas flaring and does not consider venting an acceptable alternative to flaring. From 1996 to 2014, there was a 63 per cent reduction of natural gas flared in Alberta.
In British Columbia, the Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) also has Flaring and Venting Reduction Guidelines that provide regulatory requirements for flaring, venting and incinerating at any well site or facility. B.C's goal to eliminate all routine flaring as defined by the BC Energy Plan, has been achieved.
In both Alberta and British Columbia, operators provide advanced notice to the public of any planned flaring or incineration.