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Canadian oil sands producers generated the same amount of emissions last year as they did in 2021 despite growth in production, a survey by S&P Global Commodity Insight has revealed.
Citing the survey, Reuters reported that this was the first year that emissions did not rise since 2009 when tracking began.
Bloomberg quoted Kevin Birn, S&P Global chief analyst for Canadian oil markets, as calling the figure “a significant first”. The report added that emissions from the Canadian oil sands sector had declined by some 23% since 2009.
Total production from oil sands in Canada rose by over 50,000 bpd to 3.1 million barrels daily last year. Emissions, meanwhile, remained at 81 million tons.
"We expected absolute emissions to rise as they always do when there's no market disruption. The fact it stalled suggests industry may be able to achieve more than they anticipated," Birn also said, as quoted by Reuters.
Earlier this year, the Canada National Regulator reported that oil production in the country could peak as soon as 2026 if the country and the rest of the world remained dedicated to the net-zero scenario and fulfilled their targets along the way.
If Canada alone stuck to its net-zero targets and made progress on them, oil production could peak in 2029, the regulator also said.
The oil sands sector is a natural target for decarbonization efforts by the federal government, with carbon capture and storage playing an important part. Per plans, investments in CCS should help reduce the industry’s emissions footprint biome 40 million tons annually, or about 50% from 2022 levels, by 2050.
"The potential stalling of emissions growth in 2022 is a clear signal that oil sands absolute emissions will indeed peak and begin to decline, perhaps sooner than previously expected," S&P Global’s Birn said, as quoted by Reuters.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.