AER moves to improve air quality in Peace River
In response to numerous odour complaints received from residents in the Peace River area, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has unveiled new regulations related to venting and fugitive emissions.
An investigation conducted in 2014 concluded that heavy oil operators in the region were to blame for the odours. A review panel put forward 20 recommendations to eliminate the source of the odours, improve air quality and better monitor health effects in the region.
The new Directive 084: Requirements for Hydrocarbon Emission Controls and Gas Conservation in the Peace River Area addresses each one of those recommendations, which includes limits on flaring and a complete ban on uncontrolled venting. Operators in the Peace River area are now required to submit monthly fugitive emissions reports, beginning in July of this year.
Directive 084 is in addition to Directive 056 and Directive 060, which spell out regulations for energy development in general as well as acceptable flaring/venting practices. Both regulations are also being updated to reflect changes specific to Peace River.
The Peace River area is home to the Gordondale formation, a bitumen deposit that contains higher levels of sulphur and aromatic compounds versus other oil sands formations across Alberta.