Tuesday, November 25th0.1°C
24124
24056

Regulator checks oilsands companies in northwest Alberta for odours

PEACE RIVER, Alta. - Alberta's energy regulator is mounting a two-week, around-the-clock compliance check near Peace River to ensure oilsands companies are following new rules on odour emissions.

"We only have so many people in each field office across Alberta, so we've essentially saturated this area with staff to do a targeted sweep," Jeff Toering of the Alberta Energy Regulator said Monday.

The sweep involves two three-person teams moving from facility to facility in alternating 12-hour shifts for a week. Different teams replace them after the first week.

The effort follows public hearings into complaints that gassy odours from Baytex Energy's facilities were driving some families from their homes.

Calgary-based Baytex uses an unusual method of heating bitumen in above-ground tanks to extract oil. Four other companies in the area use a similar process.

The regulator accepted most of the recommendations in a report on the public hearings. The suggestions included taking steps to eliminate gas venting, reduce flaring and conserve all produced gas in the area, where feasible, because it could cause health problems.

The regulator released a directive to that effect, which came into force Monday.

Baytex spokesman Andrew Loosely said the company has installed vapour recovery systems on all its equipment in one of the troublesome fields and is on schedule to install them in the other field by the regulatory deadline of Aug. 15.

"We applaud those efforts that the AER is undertaking," Loosely said. "They'll be out in force, holding our feet to the fire."

Gerald Palanca, who is part of the regulatory team, said inspectors will depend partly on their own sense of smell to determine if the regulations are being followed. But inspectors won't just follow their noses, he said.

Methane detectors will measure gases associated with smelly emissions. Infrared cameras will be able to "see" releases.

"We're not only measuring the odours with the human nose," said Palanca.

Nor is a one-time blast to the nostrils enough to result in enforcement.

"We're after the very strong and offensive (odours)," said Palanca, who added several things will be considered in deciding whether enforcement is required.

"(Is) there ... evidence that the site in question is affecting people? There's also compliance history. There's the duration. All these factors weigh in as part of the compliance assurance program."

Toering said inspectors hope to use this sweep to improve future enforcement of the new odour regulations.

"We're learning and we're going to tweak it as we need."

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

24120


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15073.65+58.24
S&P CDNX780.64-6.86
DJIA17814.94-2.96
Nasdaq4758.252+3.36
S&P 5002067.03-2.38
CDN Dollar0.8883-0.0001
Gold1199.20+2.10
Oil74.07-0.02
Lumber328.80-0.70
Natural Gas4.295+0.144

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.16-0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.32+0.04
Cantex0.040.00
Anavex Life Sciences0.175-0.005
Metalex Ventures0.030.00
Russel Metals32.14+0.65
Copper Mountain Mining2.15-0.02
Colorado Resources0.130.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.0134-0.0001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.045-0.005
Mission Ready Services0.325-0.04

 
23744


24035

FEATURED Property
1880751979 Metcalfe Avenue
5 bedrooms 5 baths
$979,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


The last great Canadian tax shelter

A guide to how flow-through fund limited partnerships can mightily aid your tax planning!The end of the year will raise concerns among many professionals, self-employed persons, business owners and ev...


What I learned in China: Part 2

As per my previous article on my visit to China, we have much to learn about and from their people. It is potentially the largest market on earth with 1.3 billion people in one country but much will d...


Retirement: Health Issues

Our health is really our greatest asset and maintaining our health is of tremendous importance. You want to do what you can to ensure that health issues will not jeopardize the enjoyment of your retir...

_



24119

24185


Member of BC Press Council


23646