New research released Tuesday offers an inside look at the methane leak detection and repair (LDAR) industry - a growing field of service providers that utilize technology to identify and repair leaking equipment at industrial oil and gas facilities.
The study, titled Find and Fix: Job Creation in the Emerging Leak Detection and Repair Industry, profiles the industry and its employees and assesses future growth potential.
“What we discovered is a growing industry that creates U.S. jobs, saves oil & gas operators money and time, and improves the environment and climate,” said Marcy Lowe, CEO of Datu Research, the company that conducted the survey.
Specifically, the research, commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund, found that the LDAR industry offers well-paying employment opportunities across the country that cannot be offshored, saves money by minimizing waste and keeping otherwise lost product in the pipe, and reduces emissions of a highly potent greenhouse gas along with other co-pollutants, thereby contributing to cleaner air for communities.
“The research released today proves that sensible regulations coupled with the right corporate commitments can help this burgeoning LDAR industry continue to create well-paying, boots-on-the-ground jobs in communities from coast to coast,” said Ben Ratner, Director at Environmental Defense Fund. “Policymakers at all levels who are serious about creating American jobs should seize the opportunity to support the fast-growing methane mitigation industry, recognizing that economic development and environmental progress can go hand-in-hand.”
Methane is an ongoing economic and environmental concern for industry. The U.S. natural gas system—including the production, gathering, transmission and distribution of gas—is the nation’s largest industrial source of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.
Methane emissions also result in an estimated $1.3 billion in lost product each year for the oil and gas industry (ICF, 2014).
The growing leak detection and repair industry is comprised of service firms that are hired by the oil and gas industry to find and fix leaks in the system. Hiring these service firms makes it easier for oil and gas operators to address methane emissions by eliminating the need to purchase their own equipment and train in-house staff.
The research released today is based on primary data collected from 60 leak detection and repair firms in the U.S. Key findings include:
-- The leak detection and repair industry in the U/S has a national footprint, with at least 60 companies providing services to oil and gas companies in 45 states.
-- The majority (55 percent) of American LDAR firms are small businesses.
-- More than one-third (37 percent) were founded within the last 6 years, reflecting an emerging industry.
-- Companies have already experienced up to 30 percent business growth in states with methane regulations.
-- The industry anticipates future growth and hiring, though the rate of growth will depend on the regulatory direction at the federal and state levels.
-- Nearly a quarter (22 percent) of firms have 40 percent+ workforce diversity.
-- Jobs within the LDAR industry promise upward mobility, with annual salaries of up to $113,110.
A copy of the study is available online.
Datu Research’s study builds on 2014 research titled The Emerging U.S. Methane Mitigation Industry, which assessed the market landscape for companies providing solutions to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
The follow-up study focuses on the subset of firms that perform leak detection and repair services specifically.For more information on methane pollution, visit EDF’s Research Effort Tackles Methane Leaks webpage.
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