Shell launches a methane detector pilot at one of its shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, Canada. The pilot test is part of a wider multi-stakeholder initiative called the Methane Detectors Challenge, a partnership between Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), oil and gas companies, US government agencies and technology developers to test next generation methane detection technologies. The initiative aims to enable better early detection and repair of methane leaks, and ultimately reduce emissions. While detection technologies and processes are already in place across the oil and gas industry, more technical innovation is desired.
"This pilot shows we're serious about reducing the methane emissions associated with natural gas production to support the overall climate benefit of this fuel," says Greg Guidry, executive vice president Unconventionals, Shell. "Shell is looking at all aspects of its operations, from equipment to processes, to assess and identify emission reduction opportunities."
Shell follows global operating principles to develop its shales resources safely and responsibly, and reportedly has voluntary leak detection and repair programs across all its shale gas sites. However, the Quanta3 sensing system used in the pilot is a new technology that can continuously monitor methane emissions, unlike handheld optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras.
West central Alberta was selected as the location for Shell's North American detector pilot as it offers the necessary infrastructure to adequately test the technology. Additionally, the cold weather conditions in Alberta provide a unique environment to test the system compared to previous pilots. Depending on the outcome of the pilot, next generation detection technologies could be used to complement OGI cameras and other monitoring tools.
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