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US approves $189 million loan for real-time methane and oil monitoring -January 05, 2024 at 6:00 pm

US approves $189 million loan for real-time methane and oil monitoring -January 05, 2024 at 6:00 pm

The Energy Department's loan office on Friday conditionally approved a $189 million loan to support the installation of a methane monitoring network in major oil-producing basins. The network will provide real-time data to tens of thousands of oil and gas sites, which is estimated to avoid the equivalent of at least 6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Houston-based Long Path Technologies is using the loan to deploy its emissions overwatch system across 62,160 km² in several states. The technology uses lasers — placed on 15-meter towers — to track methane leaks.

Unlike optical gas imaging, which takes less frequent measurements of methane, the long-track system can continuously monitor areas of up to 21 km², providing updates every two hours and alerting operators in the event of a leak, according to the Environment Department's loan program office.

Long Path's current subscribers include oil and gas companies such as ConocoPhillips and Williams Pipeline Company.

The Environment Department said the credit is the latest commitment by the Biden administration against methane, a potent, short-lived greenhouse gas that can escape undetected into the atmosphere from drilling rigs, pipelines and other oil and gas equipment.

Methane has a higher warming potential than carbon dioxide and breaks down more quickly in the atmosphere, so reducing methane emissions can have an immediate impact on controlling climate change.

Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations banning the systematic flaring of natural gas produced by newly drilled oil wells, requiring oil companies to monitor leaks from drilling rigs and compressor stations and establishing a program to use third-party remote sensing. Significant methane emissions from so-called “superemitters” in places like the Permian Basin. (Reporting by Valerie Volkovic)

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