Innovation is key to improved environmental performance

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Photo Courtesy of Encana

The techniques used to find and produce natural gas are built on many years of developing technology to get the resource out of the ground. However, industry is also committed to find innovative ways to reduce its impacts on the environment.  

Technology and innovation are not new to industry. For example, in recent years, combining advancements in hydraulic fracturing with multi-well drilling has not only unlocked natural gas resources that were previously uneconomical to develop, but has also allowed companies to drill multiple wells from a single location, reducing the overall surface footprint of drilling activities. 

Multi-well drilling reduces impact on the land

From a land use perspective, by using a horizontal multi-well drilling pad (left), several horizontal wells, drilled from a multi-well can access a greater area of the reservoir from a smaller piece of land than vertical wells drilled from single well pads (right).

Reducing fugitive emissions using renewable energy

Natural gas wells, producing facilities, and processing facilities often use pneumatic devices which may release small amounts of fugitive greenhouse gas emissions and which may be powered by gas or diesel. In an effort to eliminate these leaks and remove the need to consume fuel, some natural gas producers have installed solar panels to use as a source of energy to operate these controls and panels.

Collaboration on research and innovation

Through various partnerships and programs, industry is working together to develop innovative solutions to improve environmental performance. The Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund (AUPRF) was created to minimize the environmental impact of the industry through research and development, innovation, and collaboration. The Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) formed the Tight Oil and Gas Innovation Network to identify technological solutions to challenges related to multi-stage hydraulic fracturing.

The B.C. Oil and Gas Research Innovation Society (OGRIS) is a not-for-profit society with membership from CAPP, Explorers and Producers Association of Canada and the BC Oil and Gas Commission and serves to enable relevant applied research to inform environmental matters related to oil and natural gas exploration and development in B.C.