Minimizing Emissions

Gran Tierra’s environmental policy calls for the company to track its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and take steps to reduce them where it can do so cost-effectively.

In 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Gran Tierra Energy voluntarily retained a respected international expert in the field of air quality, to create an assessment of its greenhouse gas emissions in Colombia. This assessment involved collecting, analyzing and quantifying 2015-2018 air emissions data from GTE’s operations.

An updated assessment using 2018 air emissions data will be released in 2019.

Even before the baseline report’s findings were released, GTE took steps that will result in significantly lower emissions at its facilities. To reduce flaring at three of the company’s operating fields, it developed and is in the process of implementing plans to convert excess gas to power. The gas, which would have otherwise been flared, will supply generators to power operations at the Costayaco and Moqueta fields. Any excess power generated will be sold back to the local power grid.

Gran Tierra’s two-year-old Gas-to-Power program made major progress in 2018 towards its goal of using natural gas to reliably generate 100% of the electricity needed for its field operations, in the process significantly reducing gas flaring and the company’s use of electricity from the national grid.

During the year GTE completed implementation of a Gas-to-Power project at its Moqueta field, one of the company’s most challenging fields since it is accessible only via helicopter transport. The project, valued at USD$3,000,000, successfully installed twelve 250kWh reciprocating gas engine generators in June and a gas conditioning system in December in order to produce better quality gas for generation. This project was the first of its kind to be fully developed and executed by GTE. At year end almost 99% of gas at the Moqueta field was being used for power, with the company buying the rest from the grid.

The Gas-to-Power Program at the Costayaco field has been operating reliably since 2017. GTE plans to complete the program in Acordionero by the end of 2019 or early 2020.


Reciprocating Gas Engine Generators at the Gran Tierra Moqueta Field


In 2018, Gran Tierra’s total operations electrical power use was 10,315,661 kWh. In the same year 14.4% of GTE’s energy was derived by renewable sources and the remaining from non-renewable. The percentage of our energy consumed from the grid in 2018 was 20.3% and we continue to develop Gas-to-Power projects. In fact, at our Acordionero facilities we have committed to spend USD$20 million on gas turbines in order to reduce our emissions and reliance on the grid.

FIELD GAS-TO-POWER (kWh) GAS USED (scf) SAVINGS (USD)
Moqueta1 5,444,309 29,553,865 266,771
Costayaco2 62,296,159 312,414,063 2,429,550

1Savings are calculated VS National Power Grid (SIN) 355-20  (SoE KWh) = 147 $/KWH
2Savings are calculated VS National Power Grid (SIN) 325-208 (SoE KWh) = 117 $/KWH

Given that conservation and restoration of tropical forests can play a significant role in offsetting emissions, GTE is sponsoring a five-year, multimillion dollar reforestation project in the Putumayo region of Colombia in partnership with the global NGO, Conservation International and local authorities and communities. Other initiatives to reduce air emissions, which are not a requirement of the environmental authority of Colombia, include:

  • Electrification of the oil fields, which reduces machine noise, waste generation and consumption of fuels such as diesel.
  • Purchase of more land than is required by the Colombian environmental authority for natural regeneration processes. These areas have been left in conservation and have now formed a large wooded area that helps mitigate the impact caused by the generation of greenhouse gases. 

Study of Greenhouse Gas Emissions