Shell launches methane detection pilot

Initiative aims to enable better early detection and repair of methane leaks.

CALGARY and HOUSTON — Shell has launched a methane detector pilot at one of its shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, part of a wider multi-stakeholder initiative called the Methane Detectors Challenge.

The initiative is a partnership between Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), oil and gas companies, US government agencies and technology developers to test next generation methane detection technologies. It aims to enable better early detection and repair of methane leaks.

Shell will deploy the Quanta3 sensing system in the pilot, a new technology that continuously monitors methane emissions, unlike handheld optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras.

The company chose west central Alberta for the detector pilot because it provides the necessary infrastructure to adequately test the technology. The province’s cold weather conditions provide the pilot with a unique environment to test the system compared to previous projects.

Depending on the project’s outcome, next generation detection technologies could be used to complement OGI cameras and other monitoring tools. Shell says the technologies could also have broader applications across the natural gas value chain.

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