Oil and gas development in Alberta communities has been ongoing for decades. Residents and companies have learned to work and live together, putting in countless hours of time and effort to set our communities up for success. In the Peace River area, communication among residents, industry, regulators, and government is continuing to evolve and grow. The recent launch of the Peace River Area Monitoring Program (PRAMP) Committee is one more collaborative step to address the needs of both industry operators and Alberta’s citizens. The Peace River area includes Three Creeks, Seal Lake, Walrus, and Reno, as shown on the following map.
Oil in the Peace River area is considered heavy oil, and companies primarily extract it through cold heavy oil production (CHOP). CHOP operators produce oil, gas, water, and sand from underground reservoirs. The oil is then separated in heated tanks before being transported by truck. Production has increased about 20% each year from 2003 to 2013.
Odour complaints from residents began to rise in 2009. After investigating and studying these complaints, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), industry, and government representatives began working with residents to address their concerns. Area operators set up 2 continuous air monitoring trailers near communities. A committee of residents, companies, the regulator, and government representatives came together to provide input to air monitoring and assess results.
In July 2013, the Alberta Energy Regulator initiated a proceeding to address odours and emissions in the Peace River area. After information gathering and an oral proceeding in Peace River, the AER issued a report and began to implement a series of recommendations in April 2014.
The PRAMP Committee was launched in January 2015 to build on existing monitoring programs and to address the AER’s recommendations for air monitoring and modelling in the Peace River area.
The committee has members from the community, industry, and government, and works on a consensus basis. While the PRAMP Committee is similar to some airsheds in the province, it’s not designated as an airshed. The operators in the area fund the PRAMP Committee, and the monitoring is focused on hydrocarbon odours and emissions, rather than broader air quality. We hold monthly meetings, generally by teleconference, with occasional working sessions in Peace River.
“We have come a long way over the past few years, and have seen dramatic reductions in emissions. While the work has sometimes been frustratingly slow, working together has been the key to our success. We could not have had these positive results by working in isolation.”
-Reid Glenn, resident and member of the PRAMP Committee
Looking ahead, the committee is creating a PRAMP Air Monitoring Plan, and is working with Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) to expand the conversation with community members and other stakeholders. Watch for more news about the PRAMP Committee on the AEMERA website.
Peace River Area