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article imageShell Canada launches new methane detection pilot program

By Karen Graham     Aug 9, 2017 in Technology
Shell Canada announced on Wednesday the company is launching a methane detector pilot at one of its shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, Canada. The technology will allow for constant monitoring of methane levels.
The project involves using a methane monitor, a laser diode system developed by Colorado-based Quanta3 that is capable of 24/7 monitoring for methane leaks in oil anfd gas infrastructure.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) cheered the announcement, saying this shows what is possible when oil and gas companies, environmental groups and innovators work together to solve problems. In this case, detecting methane gas leaks is an issue that Canada is working to address.
On July 28, 2017, the deadline for public comment on the methane emissions rules proposed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) ended. Now, the federal agency will be going over comments and recommendations before the final rule is made public.
The pilot project is a part of the Methane Detectors Challenge (MDC), a partnership with EDF, eight petroleum companies and a number of U.S.-based technology developers, and other experts with the sole aim of finding a solution to detecting methane gas leaks in real-time.
Shell is not alone in this project, although this is a first for Canada. Statoil launched a pilot in Texas earlier this year, and Pacific Gas & Electric Company began their pilot project in California in 2016.
Installation of the Quanta3 methane detector in Canada.
Installation of the Quanta3 methane detector in Canada.
Shell Canada
“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,” said Greg Guidry, Executive Vice President of Unconventionals, Shell, according to Clean Tech Canada. “Shell is looking at all aspects of its operations, from equipment to processes, to assess and identify emission reduction opportunities.”
Quanta3’s smoke alarm for detecting methane
The Longmont, Colorado company was formed in 2014 by research engineer Rich Richter. The entrepreneur specializes in design, development, and application of laser based systems for airborne atmospheric research, including in extremes of climate conditions.
“Our technology provides operators with real time information on the integrity and performance of their sites, says Richter.
The Quanta3 system is autonomous and connected to the cloud so that 24 hours a day, every day, operators are provided with up to the minute insight into what is going on. Not only can the laser diode system detect a leak in the infrastructure, but it can pinpoint where the leak is located.
The system has a life of more than five years and is weatherized. It has also been independently tested and verified. And as an added benefit, it is solar powered and cost-efficient. The goal of continuous methane monitoring is to detect leaks so they can be fixed immediately, lowering the risk of methane going into the atmosphere. It is good to see technology partnering with petroleum companies in working to lower methane levels.
More about Shell Canada, Methane, detection program, diode laser, Methane Detectors Challenge
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