Shell has joined the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) “Methane Detectors Challenge,” a collaborative project between EDF and five other oil and natural gas companies aimed at identifying and bringing to market cutting-edge technologies that could ultimately help reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations.
Shell joins Apache Corporation, BG Group, Hess Corporation, Noble Energy and Southwestern Energy as an industry partner in this effort to help catalyze new technologies for enhanced detection of oil and gas emissions.
EDF says the Challenge offers innovators the unique opportunity to have their technologies undergo extensive, independent testing, at no cost, in Southwest Research Institute's state-of-the-art laboratory in Texas. The most promising technologies that also meet required specifications will advance to pilot field trials at facilities run by many of the participating oil and natural gas companies.
“Shell is one of the largest global energy companies and its participation adds a new level of support and expertise,” said Ben Ratner, EDF'S natural gas program manager. “EDF initiated this Challenge to jumpstart the market for new solutions that could cut emission detection time from months to minutes. We have already received strong interest from innovators at private companies and universities — and with Shell onboard, we expect that to grow."
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Methane emissions present both an economic and environmental opportunity for the oil and gas industry, EDF says. There is a market need for cost-effective technologies that provide continuous detection of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that can escape to the atmosphere during production, transportation and delivery of natural gas.
The Challenge is accepting proposals through June 17.
Last year, Shell joined with a group of energy companies, philanthropic foundations and environmental groups to form an organization that provides shale gas producers with performance standards certification for shale development. The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) outlined 15 initial performance standards designed to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of the Appalachian Basin’s abundant shale gas resources. These standards will form the foundation of the CSSD’s independent, third-party certification process.
Speaking of methane, Sprint recently announced it will be one of the first companies, and the world's first telecomm company, to use AirCarbon™, a new carbon-negative plastic made from methane gas, instead of petroleum. The material will be used in black and pink cell phone cases for the iPhone® 5 and iPhone® 5s that will be sold online exclusively on Sprint.com beginning later this month.