Thursday, September 20, 2018

Businesses Showcase Cutting-Edge Tech Solutions For Reducing Oil & Gas Methane Emissions In PA

The Center for Methane Emissions Solutions Thursday brought together members of the business and environmental communities, along with representatives of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration, in Pittsburgh to discuss opportunities for reducing emissions from natural gas development in Pennsylvania.
The event was co-sponsored by the PA Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Fund and underscored the feasibility of reducing oil and gas methane emissions, even as the federal government takes steps to remove national clean air protections.
“The Wolf administration is proud of the progress it has made implementing its Methane Reduction Strategy to address climate change while supporting responsible energy development, safeguarding public health, and protecting our environment,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Sam Robinson. “As we continue to move forward with the Reduction Strategy, we are eager to utilize the most technologically advanced tools available to achieve the largest possible reductions at the lowest possible cost.”
Methane is the primary constituent of natural gas and is also a potent greenhouse gas responsible for 25 percent of the man-made warming being experienced.
In February of this year, an analysis by Environmental Defense Fund estimated methane emissions from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas sites may be five times higher than what oil and gas companies report to the Department of Environmental Protection.
The methane forum featured demonstrations from FLIR Systems, which manufactures cameras that allow operators to find invisible gas leaks. Technologies such as these are among existing tools that can cut methane emissions in half for no net cost, according to the International Energy Agency.
“FLIR cameras are widely used today by the most forward-thinking companies in the oil and gas industry,” said Frank Pennisi, president of the Industrial Business Unit at FLIR. “We stand at the ready with our optical gas imaging technology to empower industry stakeholders to realize even greater emission and waste reduction benefits while concurrently saving money.”
Many other methane reduction strategies are being developed by Pennsylvania-based companies and academic institutions including Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
“As the second largest natural gas producing state in the nation, it is critical for the energy industry to tackle methane emissions to both protect air quality and ensure the viability of this industry as it faces growing competition in the energy sector,” said Isaac Brown, director of the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions. “Fortunately, the region is at the vanguard of a robust industry of methane mitigation companies that are already working with the oil and gas industry to provide cost-effective solutions. Today’s speakers put on display how innovation is transforming the way industry operates for the betterment of Pennsylvania communities and in response to a citizenry that is calling for smart solutions now.”
The event also included a special virtual reality experience developed by EDF that transports users to a modern day gas facility, allowing them to find and fix virtual methane leaks while underscoring current opportunities to reduce this potent greenhouse gas, which often leaks with other harmful pollutants that deteriorate air quality and create risks to public health.
Pennsylvania is among the early states to set standards to control harmful emissions from oil and gas facilities, actions which will help the state cut future emissions while benefiting the economy.
“Forward-looking leaders such as Gov. Tom Wolf understand that methane is a problem and that sensible methane controls protect the health of Pennsylvania communities, spur job growth and reduce natural gas waste,” said Andrew Williams, director of regulatory and legislative affairs at EDF. “Expanding controls to apply to the thousands of existing natural gas facilities operating across the state will secure Pennsylvania’s role as a leader in establishing smart energy policies that reduce environmental risk, protect residents and grow the economy.”
For more information on methane reduction technology, visit the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions website.
(Photo: Isaac Brown of the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions speaks to the environmental and economic benefits of a growing methane mitigation industry.)
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