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Air emissions management
Download October 16, 2013

PTAC 2013 Air Issues Forum

On September 26, 2013, Process Ecology attended and presented at the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) Air Issues Forum.

According to PTAC, the forum is the place to learn more about:

  • Emerging air emission issues in the UOG sector,
  • Regulatory perspectives, programs, and what they are meant to accomplish,
  • The potential implications for oil and gas producers, and
  • The path forward for all stakeholders.


In our experience, this is a valuable forum to learn about changes in air emissions regulations and review the current research being undertaken to improve on air emissions calculation and prediction.

The keynote speaker was Jim Ellis, president and CEO of the new Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), who shared his vision for the AER. The AER currently regulates:

  • 185,000 wells
  • 405,000 km of pipelines
  • 775 gas processing plants
  • Nine oil sands mines, 50 thermal in situ and 200 primary/enhanced schemes
  • Five bitumen upgraders
  • Ten coal mines and four processing plants.


Components of the future strategy include better public engagement and response to landowner concerns, improved performance measures, common approach to risk management and transparency. After his presentation, Mr. Ellis immediately had an opportunity to respond to landowner concerns; citizen advocates were vocal about environmental issues at their residences.

Other presentations included:

  • David Lyder (Environment and Sustainable Resource Development): Presented updates to Alberta’s Air Quality Model Guideline. In particular, new dispersion models and procedures for flaring emissions are in force as of October 1, 2013.
  • Brian Zelt (ZeltPSI): Presented technical details regarding the refined air dispersion models. This includes improvements to better manage non-routine flaring.
  • Matt Johnson (Carleton University): Presented work related to the impact of non-hydrocarbon liquids on particulate emissions and efficiencies for flares.
  • David Picard (Clearstone): Presented work on improving methods for measuring and estimating emissions from petroleum storage tanks, resulting in development and validation of an improved algorithm for estimating evaporation losses in tanks.

Process Ecology also presented work related to the model we are developing (with AUPRF funding) to predict benzene emissions from glycol dehydrators with condensation tanks. Details of the thermodynamic, heat transfer and ambient models used to predict the benzene emissions reductions in tanks and TankSafe condensers were presented. The next stage of this project will be to undertake field testing in order to validate the model.


For more information regarding the forum, see http://www.ptac.org/events/63.


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By James Holoboff, M.Sc., P. Eng.

James has over 25 years of experience in process engineering and emissions management for the chemical and petroleum industries. He brings a strong background in the development and application of computer simulation models to oil & gas industry challenges. James worked for Hyprotech/Aspentech for almost 10 years in various capacities including Global Technical Support Manager and Business Development Manager for the Project Services Division. He then spent 5 years providing process engineering and simulation consulting to a number of operating companies and engineering firms. James has been a Managing Partner for Process Ecology for 10+ years, during this time providing process engineering services, emissions reporting, project management, and software development support. James is a Chemical Engineering graduate from the University of Calgary and holds a MSc in Chemical Engineering from the same institution. In his spare time, when he’s not playing ice hockey or cycling, he is recovering from injuries incurred from those sports.

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