In August 2005, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) published ST60B-2005: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring and Venting Report, which summarizes annual flaring and venting performance from all upstream sources. The report indicated that total solution gas flaring plus venting in Alberta from crude oil and crude bitumen batteries had been reduced to 729 106m3 in 2004 from the 1996 combined flare plus vent baseline volume of 1,808 106m3, a reduction of 59.7%. Of the 729 106m3 flared and vented solution gas, 248 106m3 (34.0%) was attributed to crude bitumen operations, and of this volume, 219 106m3 (88.2%) was the result of venting, with the remaining 29 106m3 (11.8%) being flared.

In September 2000, the EUB, as a member of the Flaring and Venting Project Team of the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA), made a commitment to develop a venting management framework that would promote the reduction of venting from crude bitumen operations. In 2002, the resultant framework was included in EUB Draft Guide 60: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting. Since then, encouraging reductions in venting at primary crude operations have been realized. The EUB is planning to release an updated version of Guide 60 in 2005 that will contain several enhancements designed to further promote reductions of solution gas flaring and venting.

This paper discusses the following items as they pertain to crude bitumen operations and primary crude operations in particular:

  1. Solution gas flaring and venting performance in Alberta to calendar year-end 2004

  2. Best practices respecting solution gas conservation

  3. CASA recommended enhancements to Guide 60

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