Shell Joining Statoil in Methane Detection Pilot

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In the last quarter of 2016, Statoil announced plans that they would form a partnership with the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) to pilot a methane detecting device. Working together with PG&E, the device’s developer company, the device was shortly thereafter installed at Statoil’s natural gas storage facility in northern California. The purpose of the device is to detect any methane leaks that happen on site, which leads to the overall reduction of harmful emissions and minimisation of waste. Methane emissions have been identified to cause around 25% of global warming, and the Oil & Gas industry produces a significant amount of this.

The companies are yet to release any results on their pilot, but judging by the interest they are attracting, there has been at least moderate success: recently another oil giant, Shell, announced they were joining the partnership. Driven by EDF’s Methane Detectors Challenge, the aim of the pilot is to help along the commercialisation of low-cost methane detection devices.

In a supporting statement, Shell noted the importance of such projects. A representative said that whilst detection technologies and processes are already in place across the Oil & Gas industry, more technical innovation is desired. In addition, Shell’s Vice-President, Greg Guidry, stated that the pilot “shows we’re serious about reducing the methane emissions associated with natural gas production to support the overall climate benefit of this fuel.”

Shell now joining the initiative, provides good direction as to where Oil & Gas companies may be looking to take their innovation next. Faced with constant pressure from governments, environmental groups, investors and consumers, the companies are slowly looking to adapt to a greener conduct, and methane leak detection would seamlessly align with this cause. Investing in equipment for this purpose would be a logical decision, as it would provide adaptors with economic, environmental and social benefits.

To apply Dashboard’s perspective, oil is a traditional industry that can sometimes be slow to evolve. Despite this, we believe there is room for companies to become more environmentally conscious. We support schemes similar to this, particularly in untrialled areas such as methane leak detection, as these intend to bring a green aspect to the industry.

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