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Canada Nearing Emission Curbs Deal With Oil Industry, Kent Says

Canada is “very close” to an agreement with industry on new rules to lower greenhouse-gas emissions from the oil and natural gas industry, Environment Minister Peter Kent said.

“We’re very close to bringing in regulations,” Kent said today in an interview in Paris. The rules could be announced in the “coming months,” he said, without providing details.

Canada’s greenhouse-gas output has risen from 1990 levels mainly because of surging bitumen production from Alberta oil sands. Producers are under pressure to reduce the environmental footprint in the face of a European Commission plan to penalize crude derived from bitumen as part of a proposed fuel-quality directive.

Canada will suggest the European plan be assessed by the International Energy Agency to determine whether bitumen should be put in a separate category from other fossil fuels, Kent said.

“It’s in the political arena now but might be better for the IEA to inform the politicians of the reality of the science,” he said. Europe should “take a second look at the fuel-quality directive. It discriminates specifically against Canada and heavy oil from the Canadian oil sands.”

Kent follows Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver in Europe as part of a lobbying effort to persuade officials to eliminate the specificity of bitumen in the directive.

Suppliers of light conventional oil such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Angola use flaring and venting practices that would lift emissions higher than that of oil sands, he said.

The level of carbon emitted in global energy supplies has barely changed in 20 years amid stalled efforts to curb pollution and increased coal use, the Paris-based energy adviser IEA said last month in a report.

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