The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a total of $13 million to 12 multi-year research projects intended to develop efficient and effective ways to mitigate methane emissions from natural gas pipeline and storage infrastructure, and to better quantify the sources, volumes and rates of methane emissions.

The initiative “is an important part of this administration’s overall strategy to address methane emissions from natural gas transportation and storage infrastructure,” said Franklin Orr, DOE under secretary for science and energy.

“Improving our ability to measure and minimize methane emissions will help us to safely and efficiently use our nation’s natural gas resources, and at the same time address environmental and infrastructure challenges as we work to meet our commitments on climate change,” Orr said.

Seven of the projects represent the start of DOE’s methane emissions mitigation from midstream infrastructure research:

DOE selected five other projects to kick off its methane emissions quantification research:

The Obama administration initially outlined its methane initiative in 2014, with a goal by 2025 of slashing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% from 2012 levels (see Daily GPI, March 28, 2014). Earlier this year, EPA issued final New Source Performance Standards to reduce methane, volatile organic compounds and toxic air pollutants (see Shale Daily, May 12). Battle lines over the proposed rules have hardened in recent weeks (see Daily GPI, Aug. 16).

A plethora of research has been ongoing for several years regarding methane emissions by regulators, academia and independent groups. In June, a natural gas industry-backed assessment by ICF International found that the cost to reduce methane emissions from gas systems is $3.35/Mcf, almost five times higher than researchers had estimated two years ago (see Daily GPI, June 2).