Process Ecology Provides Emissions Reductions Management Services To Oil And Gas Sector
Process Ecology Inc. offers clients a more cost-effective way of emissions management reporting and reduction as increasing regulations put more pressure on energy sector companies on this front.
“When we look at air emissions regulations, there are at least a dozen air regulations here in Western Canada, and they’re constantly changing,” managing partner James Holoboff told the Bulletin. “We have the expertise, and we keep up with all these regulations.”
He added: “What I’d say primarily for the oil and gas companies in Western Canada who are dealing with these regulations is they’re short on resources and they have cost constraints, and I think we can work with them to reduce their costs by integrating emissions reporting, and help them to use the same quantification that’s been used for the regulatory reporting to identify the compliance risk and opportunities.”
Since 2003, the firm has helped energy sector clients improve environmental and economic performance. Its emissions management business offers software and services to ensure compliance with all federal and provincial air emissions regulatory requirements, while also identifying opportunities to reduce emissions and cost. It basically manages development of the clients’ inventory, the quantification of the emissions and reporting.
Process Ecology supports more than 50 operating companies with their regulatory requirements. The firm also supports clients with corporate sustainability reporting and meeting environmental, social and governmental (ESG) standards. “We want to ensure we’re delivering what our clients are asking for, really focusing on our clients here in Western Canada in the oil and gas industry.”
In terms of ESG reporting, 10 companies could be making their estimations in 10 slightly different ways, and that is something he believes must change.
“Obviously, we’re comparing these different companies, and they need to get on the same basis. When they’re looking at these high-level numbers, they’re drilling down into the details of how this was quantified or estimated. We want to be able to make that available, auditable and clear. This is done very well with a system such as ours, which can drill down and see exactly how those calculations are done and where the data came from, and what the basis was.”
Accounting for all assets, emissions
According to Holoboff, Process Ecology takes account of all its clients’ facilities and equipment, and emissions associated with equipment. Some emissions are measured (i.e., fugitive emissions or those from compressor seal vents), while others (i.e., from tanks) are calculated using engineering simulation software.
“When we look at quantifying, it’s basically bringing in all these different estimates and calculations, and finding the best way to do that in each case.”
Regardless if a client is a producer, midstreamer or in oilfield services, Process Ecology uses a similar framework for everything from wells to facilities to pipelines. One difference he noted between certain upstream companies with several hundred wells and a midstreamer with a few gas processing facilities is how data is gathered and reported into the system, as wells typically are not tied into these sorts of data systems.
“With larger facilities and with these midstreamers, [there is] an opportunity to integrate it more with their online systems, across the board, to make it easier to access data directly, maybe fewer manual requests of operators. That’s one advantage of better instrumented facilities.”
Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Implementation (TIER) system is one recently-introduced regulation that adds to the cost of compliance. It is easier to comply with TIER if the companies can leverage quantification done for other regulatory requirements, said Holoboff.
“What’s most exciting about what we are doing right now is just being able to integrate everything into this one solution, [because] all the quantification and engineering calculations required for all the emissions regulations are in one place, and that’s something that really hasn’t been there until recently.”
For the most part, Process Ecology’s clients are oil and gas firms. However, Holoboff highlighted a large project his company is working on with Clearstone Engineering Ltd., as well as Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Government of Mexico, to develop an application evaluating the entire energy industry’s emissions profile.
“It’s a little bit different from the regulatory reporting application. This is more of a determination of the best kind of technology that could be applied industry-wide, and maybe could go into the decision-making process for regulators.”
The resulting application is called TEAM — a web-based decision-support software that is used for rigorous techno-economic evaluations of short-lived climate pollutants and greenhouse gas mitigation strategies in oil and gas.
Holoboff said: “That’s a good example of where we are working with the regulators to find a solution for them. It’s a bit different, as we’re not doing regulatory compliance work, but bringing in higher-level data to solve different problems, for example, to inform policy decisions.”
Process Ecology is currently working to bring this innovative tool to market for the benefit of operating companies, governments and technology developers.