The Syncrude oilsands extraction facility is reflected in a tailings pond near the city of Fort McMurray, Alta., on June 1, 2014. A newly published study concludes that emissions of methane, 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 the gas.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Syncrude oilsands extraction facility is reflected in a tailings pond near the city of Fort McMurray, Alta., on June 1, 2014. A newly published study concludes that emissions of methane, 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 the gas.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

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

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 researchhas uncovered.

Canada has said it will reduce methan 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