Monday, July 15, 2024

Evolving Methane Regulations Require Better Tools for Notification, Identification, and Quantification, says ECOTEC

Last updated Wednesday, June 19, 2024 09:57 ET , Source: ECOTEC

ECOTEC’s EcoFlow™ methane flow meter allows oil and gas companies to more reliably detect methane, helping them find and fix leaks quicker and save on maintenance costs.

Colton, California, 06/19/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

Developments in climate science are revealing the extent of the greenhouse effect and its contribution to climate change, resulting in governments coming out with new or updated regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. As regulatory and societal pressure increases, oil and gas companies must comply with more stringent standards to continue operating.

Methane (CH4) is one of the most damaging greenhouse gasses, being around 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) in trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. As such, environmental regulations have become incredibly focused on limiting methane emissions as much as possible. Also known as natural gas, methane is widely used as a fuel for heating, cooking, and power generation, and it is often found alongside oil deposits. The world’s dependence on natural gas creates more opportunities for leaks, which is why oil and gas companies must adopt better methodologies for addressing their methane emissions.

One of the ways to better manage methane emissions is by adopting an NIQ protocol. NIQ stands for Notification, Identification, and Quantification of methane, which is a deployment of technology and practices that allows oil and gas companies to quickly be aware of methane leaks (Notification), determine the exact location of a release (Identification), and measure the exact leak rate and potential environmental impact (Quantification). These steps allow operators to stay ahead of the curve and reduce their methane footprint in a proactive and cost-effective manner.

ECOTEC, a California-based company with more than 30 years of expertise in gas measurement and detection technologies, created the NIQ framework to help their customers understand the most effective methods of technology deployment for fugitive emissions. Most recently, they have created the EcoFlow, a portable device that can quickly and accurately determine methane content and flow rates, allowing companies to comply with various greenhouse gas-related regulations and bring a low-cost solution to methane leak Quantification.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation mandates that oil and gas companies monitor methane emissions on all new compressor rod packings that are installed, modified, or reconstructed after December 6, 2022. According to ECOTEC, the EcoFlow was developed particularly with this use case in mind, as it helps companies comply with OOOOb requirements while eliminating unnecessary work on compressor packing vents.

Tim Novick, President and CEO of ECOTEC, explains that current common practice in the industry involves the replacement of packing vents over prescriptive time periods, regardless of the performance of the unit. This entails a large resource and labor cost, as well as necessitates downtime of operations, which can be prohibitively expensive, while not having a targeted impact on methane emissions. By being able to accurately quantify methane emissions, companies no longer need to replace perfectly functional packing vents, instead, they can focus time and money on fixing leaking components and save on costs while remaining OOOOb-compliant.

Another valuable use case for EcoFlow is to measure methane leaks in idle, abandoned, and orphaned oil wells, which number in the hundreds of thousands across the US. The US Government is paying for companies to identify and cap these wells to stop methane emissions. According to Novick, using EcoFlow will allow companies to quantify the leak rate of a particular well, as well as prove that a capped well has resulted in the elimination of the leak. These direct measurements are required in order to receive federal funding or carbon credits for the work of capping these leaking wells.

Archrock, a leading, emissions-conscious U.S. natural gas compression services provider, has partnered with ECOTEC to create the EcoFlow™, a methane flow meter designed with the needs of the gas compression industry in mind.

“The oil and gas industry needed a device that would provide a high-quality, cost-effective means of compliance for ever-evolving and expanding air emissions regulations. We partnered with ECOTEC to couple their best-in-class instrument technology with Archrock’s 70 years of experience in the gas compression industry to create a fit-for-purpose product that timely satisfies an important industry need," states Kyle Jantzen, Director of Business Development at Archrock. “Specifically, the EcoFlow is a qualified method of measuring methane emissions under the recently finalized New Source Performance Standard OOOOb regulations, providing the industry with the necessary data to detect the source and volume of fugitive methane that might escape from equipment at oil and gas wells and facilities, including gas compression equipment, so prompt repairs may be made. At Archrock, WE POWER A CLEANER AMERICA®."

“The oil and gas industry is under tremendous external pressure from regulators, governments, environmentalists, and financial institutions to limit greenhouse gas emissions,” Novick says. “Our focus has been to design solutions that allow our customers to reduce their environmental impact while also increasing efficiencies in their operations. It is our belief that well-designed equipment can help operators maintain compliance without creating additional operational burdens. As regulations become more stringent, the Notification, Identification, and Quantification (NIQ) protocol is incredibly important in creating a successful methane mitigation framework. The EcoFlow is ECOTEC’s latest product introduction under the NIQ framework to bring the oil and gas industry an easy-to-use and cost-effective tool to better Quantify emissions from all types of assets in the field.”

The EcoFlow can measure methane saturation from 0% to 100%, with an accuracy of ±2%. Its advanced laser and vane anemometer sensors allow more accurate and reliable readings in a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions, as well as enabling sampling on a wet or dry basis. Weighing just 10.2 pounds (4.6 kg), the EcoFlow kit can easily be carried and deployed by field personnel, with a long-lasting battery that allows all-day operation. It was designed specifically to meet OOOOb Subpart 60.5386b and is Method 2D compliant.

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