The following projects have long-term environmental benefits, including energy and/or emissions reductions.
In April 2014, we closed the purchase of a small private company with light-oil assets in Southeast Saskatchewan. Following the purchase of these assets, Vermilion has made important improvements that reflect our focus on Safety, Integrated Sustainability, and Operational Excellence, based on our target to reduce flaring from this operation by 50% by 2020. This resulted in a significant focus on the reduction of flaring and vented solution gas at these s ites in 2015 and 2016, including: the construction of new infrastructure, including a significant capital commitment to partner in a gas plant project that enables natural gas conservation in the region; operational changes; and increased infrastructure runtimes.
As a result, we have exceeded our target, reducing emissions by 75%, contributing to the gross emissions reduction in our Canadian operation from 2014 to 2016. Year over year, Vermilion was able to reduce emissions from our Saskatchewan assets from 2015 to 2016 by 76,476 tCO2e (62%).
Starting in January 1, 2016, Vermilion began purchasing 100% green power from our largest power provider (of 3 providers) in our Netherlands Business Unit, resulting in a 97% reduction in Scope 2 emissions in NBU from 2015 to 2016. This represents an estimated 39,145 tCO2e avoided based on 2015 emission intensity levels for purchased energy and 2016 energy consumption. The Netherlands accounted for approximately 41% of Vermilion's gross Scope 2 emissions in 2015, and for less than 2% in 2016.
Vermilion is reducing flaring in many of our locations, because it is more efficient to incinerate or use gases such as methane (instead of flaring or venting them). In turn, this allows Vermilion to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and our potential impact on nearby communities.
Our 2015 replacement of incinerator technology at our battery in Parentis has significantly reduced flaring, and helped us be a good neighbor to the community. Given the proximity of the glass windows of the tomato greenhouse that is co-located with our battery, it was particularly important to find a solution that avoided strong vibrations. Our installation of the new incinerator, along with new piping, scrubber and safety fencing in the incinerator area has resulted in no noise, vibration or smoke. Because the incinerator runs at a much higher temperature (900°C instead of 400-500°C) and combusts the gas in a much taller, 9-metre stack, significantly more of the gases – such as methane, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides – are safely incinerated, minimizing the gas that has to be flared.