The Importance of Reducing Fugitive Emissions
The Alberta oil and gas industry loses billions of dollars every year to fugitive emissions.
Reducing methane fugitive emissions is a critical part of Alberta’s long-term strategy to combat climate change. However, this isn’t the only reason oil and gas companies should be interested in reducing their emissions. Reducing fugitive emissions has several immediate benefits:
- Methane gas is a valuable product that can be sold if it is captured rather than emitted.
- Reducing leak points in gas processing facilities makes them safer and more efficient.
- Failing to adequately reduce fugitive emissions can lead to regulatory penalties, especially as tighter requirements come into effect.
Fugitive emissions reduction measures can pay for themselves in the long run by increasing efficiency and maximizing sellable methane gas. By implementing a plan to reduce fugitive emissions, Alberta oil and gas companies also demonstrate their commitment to stopping climate change while ensuring compliance with Alberta fugitive emissions regulations and protecting the environment.
Sources of Fugitive Emissions in Alberta Oil and Gas Facilities
Oil and gas processing plants contain thousands of valves, connections, and other components that can be potential sources of fugitive emissions.
Fugitive emissions from valves account for approximately 60% of all fugitive emissions in a typical oil and gas facility. Valves leak when they are improperly installed, damaged, loosened by vibration, or when they just wear out over time. If a valve is installed in the wrong orientation, it will leak, for example. Because oil and gas facilities contain thousands of valves, regular inspections are essential to identify and repair or replace them.
Any other place where multiple components join—for example, gauges, seals, instrument panels, rotating equipment, or seal support systems—is a potential leak point and source of fugitive emissions. If components are positioned where they are under a load, they can be damaged over time, leading to increased emissions and potential failure.
Vibrations from equipment can also cause fugitive emissions by loosening nearby connections over time. Any components or pipe connections near pumps, compressors, or other rotating equipment should be inspected frequently for loose connections.
Preventing Leaks with a Fugitive Emissions Plan
Fugitive emissions come from gas handling components—so the best way to prevent fugitive emissions is to use high-quality components.
Valves are the first parts to upgrade in a fugitive emissions reduction plan. Aging valves can be replaced with modern valves with higher-quality metallurgy and improved engineering design. No matter what type of valve is being replaced, to minimize leaks, it’s important to select high-quality, fugitive emissions-compliant replacement valves. Fugitive emissions-compliant valves have been tested to the strictest industry standards to ensure their performance against leaks. For optimal protection against fugitive emissions, valves should be selected by or with the help of an expert who can determine the valve designs and materials that will best accommodate the process parameters at that location.
Fittings and connections—especially threaded connections—are potential leak points and should be regularly checked for fugitive emissions. Threaded connections should be eliminated wherever possible and replaced with flange connections or tube fittings. Bent tubing should be used rather than piping where appropriate to minimize the number of connections.
When selecting components to reduce fugitive emissions, be sure to consult a fluid systems expert who can help you choose the right design and materials for your application. They can also help you identify potential leak points and high-risk components that you may not have been aware of.
Consult Local Experts for Help Managing Fugitive Emissions
The Alberta oil and gas industry trusts Edmonton Valve & Fitting to provide advice and components to maximize your facility’s efficiency and reliability. Our expert Field Advisors can perform an onsite evaluation and recommend design and component upgrades to help reduce fugitive emissions in your facility.
Swagelok valves passed the American Petroleum Institute’s Low-E test for fugitive emissions without modification. By using Swagelok valves, you don’t just meet the strictest regulations in the industry, you exceed them. Most importantly, you ensure your people and equipment are protected by the most advanced components available.
To find out more about how Edmonton Valve & Fitting can help you reduce fugitive emissions with high-quality Swagelok valves, fittings, and other components, contact us through our website or by calling 780-437-0640.