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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Benchmarking greenhouse gas management in the Canadian natural gas industry Irwin, Anthony

Abstract

GHG management presents a challenge to the natural gas industry worldwide due to associated processing and transportation emissions and the product which they sell being a potent GHG as well as a fuel commodity. The Canadian natural gas industry is particularly challenged as an expanding primary export market for natural gas in the United States indicates large increases in natural gas production and exports in the short to medium term. Increases in production coupled with new gas supplies that are located geographically more distant from the USA and / or in deeper geological strata will be accompanied by increases in the GHG emissions from the wellhead to burner tip supply chain. The confluence of pressure to inventory and manage GHG emissions arising from governmental international commitments and higher emissions in an expanding and more distant market creates the need for robust and consistent GHG management systems that are able to clearly monitor and report emissions in a verifiable manner and offer mitigation solutions through identification of techniques to reduce absolute emission levels and to offset emissions through the potential for market based mechanisms. The thesis objective was to answer the general management question of: "How do natural gas companies in Canada and other annex I and annex b countries manage the liability posed by potential climate change related policy constraints on companies operations and are these systems comparable?" This was accomplished by addressing three underlying research questions. Research question one outlined GHG calculation, monitoring and verification practices. Research question two outlined GHG management practices. The third research question drew a qualitative comparison between Canadian and non-Canadian companies systems. The thesis outlines present practice and a qualitative comparison that points to the systems as described by respondents being broadly comparable with Canadian companies occupying middle to high position on a ranked response basis. No statistical valid comparison was undertaken due to a poor response from non-Canadian companies surveyed giving a non-representative statistical sample. The thesis concludes with a call for a broader statistically valid study to confirm the qualitative findings set out in this thesis.

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