Methane leak detection provider Bridger Photonics has been selected to perform multi-year aerial scans of Diversified Energy Co. plc’s natural gas production and distribution assets, initially in Appalachia.

Bridger plans to deploy its laser imaging, detection and ranging (LiDAR) equipment to track the emissions.

“Our Gas Mapping LiDAR technology will efficiently detect, pinpoint and quantify typically more than 90% of basin emissions to inform and streamline Diversified’s repair and maintenance activities,” said Bridger CEO Pete Roos.

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Diversified, whose Central Region holdings include the Haynesville and Barnett shales and assets in the Midcontinent, said the LiDAR program would be extended to those assets as well. The company noted that early 2021 field trials of Bridger’s LiDAR technology on a “large segment” of Appalachia pipeline detected fugitive natural gas emissions “well below” 500 parts per million, which is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leak definition threshold.

Diversified said it would spend $3 million annually over the next three years on LiDAR aerial emissions scanning activities.

The total $9 million commitment “supports our near-term goal to reduce our 2020 level methane emissions by 30% by 2026 on the way to net-zero by 2040,” said Diversified CEO Rusty Hutson Jr. “Adding aerial emissions detection to the handheld devices we’ve placed in the hands of our skilled well tenders further enhances our ability to detect and repair fugitive emissions across our asset base.”

Aggressive Methane Proposals

By way of proposed changes to the U.S. Clean Air Act, the EPA is seeking to broadly limit methane emissions across oil and gas operations. The new mandate would add covered methane sources at well sites, natural gas gathering and boosting compressor stations, gas processing equipment, as well as transmission and storage equipment.

The Biden administration wants to curb methane emissions from oil and gas operations beyond U.S. territory as well. In November, President Biden hosted his counterparts from Canada and Mexico for a trilateral summit, which featured a pledge to develop a “‘North American strategy on methane and black carbon.’” Also, the Biden administration and the European Union have endorsed a target to cut methane emissions 30% worldwide by 2030.