The laser technology, which continuously detects methane leaks, can help oil and gas companies reduce waste by recapturing natural gas that would be otherwise lost.
Quanta3 developed it through the Methane Detectors Challenge, a partnership between Environmental Defense Fund, oil and gas companies and US-based technology developers. The collaboration aims to bring to market new technologies that can enable continuous 24-hour monitoring, cutting leak detection time.
The global oil and gas industry loses about $30 billion of natural gas a year from leaks at dispersed sites ($2 billion in the US), much of it from unintentional leaks. An ICF International analysis, commissioned by EDF, found that natural gas leaks can be reduced at least 40 percent at an average cost of about 1 penny per thousand cubic feet of gas produced, which will not affect low electricity or gasoline prices.
Statoil says the technology will help it achieve its carbon-reduction targets.
“Statoil aims to be recognized as the most carbon efficient oil and gas producer,” said Desikan Sundararajan, PhD, senior researcher in Statoil’s shale oil and gas R&D team, in a statement. “The introduction of cost-effective, innovative methane detection technologies like those developed through the Methane Detectors Challenge, can support our ongoing initiatives in this area. Sensors providing real-time data on ambient facility level emissions will allow us to act upon this information in a timely manner.”
The technology can also help companies comply with emissions regulations. Late last year the US Interior Department finalized a rule to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands.
Statoil is the second energy company to purchase and install a new technology developed through the Methane Detectors Challenge.
Last month Pacific Gas & Electric began pilot testing a solar-powered tool developed by Acutect that will continuously monitor for unplanned releases of methane at a PG&E natural gas storage facility in northern California.