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Limiting Methane Leakage from Natural Gas Infrastructure

The Governor has directed DEQ to develop a framework for limiting methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure. As part of this process, an ad hoc work group has been established to support DEQ in the collection and evaluation of data to inform the regulation development process.

Additional Methane Information

See the webpage, Limiting Methane Leakage from Landfills  for additional information on limiting methane emissions.

What's New

October 2019

  • The final report of the ad hoc work group for methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure (Revision A19) is now available.

September 2019

July 2019

May 2019

  • Minutes for the second meeting of the ad hoc work group for methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure (Rev A19) are now available on Town Hall.

March 2019

  • Minutes for the first meeting of the ad hoc work group for methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure (Rev A19) are now available on Town Hall.


Links to additional studies/analyses shared by the members of the ad hoc work group:

American Association for the Advancement of Science: Rising methane: a new climate Challenge

Cornell Chronicle: Industrial methane emissions are underreported, study finds

Environmental Defense Fund: Do Lower Gas Prices Alter Conclusion of the ICF Study on Methane Reduction Costs? (See: ICF Methane Cost Curve Report)

Environmental Defense Fund: Does new NOAA study really show that methane emissions have been overestimated? No.

Independent Oil and Gas Producers' Association: Independent Producers' Comments on 2018 Proposed Revisions to Subpart-OOOOa

Midland Reporter Telegram-Article Regarding Leak Detection Methods in Texas: Kairos Aerospace conducting Permian-wide scan in search for methane leaks

NOAA Methane Study provided by CNX: NOAA: Previous Methane Studies Overestimated U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Emissions

National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL): University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) Projects - Virginia Polytechnic and State University has been awarded $400,000 to fund a 24 month project, 'Methane Emissions Quantification (MEQ) of Compressor Stations'. The research is being conducted under the direction of Dr. Nino Ripepi. Dr. Ripepi provided an executive summary of the methane emissions project below:

The Virginia Center for Coal & Energy Research (VCCER) and the Mining & Minerals Engineering department (MinE) at Virginia Tech proposes ‘Methane Emissions Quantification (MEQ) of Compressor Stations’, a two-year project, to monitor, characterize, and quantify methane emissions from natural gas compressor stations. The project will provide unique and original research in support of the objectives of the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER).

In addition to the VCCER and MinE, the project team will comprise a natural gas operating company, EnerVest; and CSE Corporation, a designer and  manufacturer of safety and environmental monitoring products. EnerVest will provide site access to natural gas compressor facilities located in Southwest Virginia. Additionally, EnerVest will collaborate with the project team in both technical and health and safety matters to ensure quality research and minimal risk to project participants and company assets. CSE Corporation will procure and integrate real-time emissions detection and monitoring instrumentation that will be installed at EnerVest compressor stations. CSE will also provide technical guidance on equipment installation and will maintain the data acquisition and management system.

The MEQ project will address compressor station characterization by implementing a comprehensive continuous environmental monitoring program to detect leak frequency and rates in an effort to identify and reduce discrepancies between measured emissions and those estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) program. Characterization of compressor stations will further allow operators to better allocate monitoring and maintenance resources to assets that are more prone to leak frequency and rate, while disaggregating these measurements can provide insight into leak characteristics of compressor and seal types. Furthermore, characterization efforts could provide opportunities for best practice guidelines for commercialization of continuous real-time monitoring.

The VCCER and MinE, with support from NETL’s Geological & Environmental Systems (GES) core competencies, will measure methane emissions by using tracer gases, which are inert and nontoxic gaseous species that are not normally present in natural gas streams or in the atmosphere. The theory supporting the downwind tracer flux method is well-grounded and is a well-established measurement technique used in numerous industries, including underground mining, building design, and environmental services. VCCER will utilize the downwind dual-tracer flux method. Unlike publications cited by EPA in its latest GHGI program revision, VCCER will implement continuous, real-time monitoring to more accurately quantify emission rates, frequency, and duration. Continuous real-time monitoring can prove advantageous over intermittent monitoring by increasing temporal resolution and can allow leak events to be correlated with other environmental parameters. VCCER will monitor each compressor station for a period of three months, 24 hours per day. Additionally, VCCER with NETL support will visit each compressor station once per month to collect samples for both high accuracy laboratory analysis as well as realtime monitoring through NETL’s mobile air monitoring laboratory to ensure data collection is within acceptable standards as well as for comparison purposes to previously published research. In order to support DOE’s goal of determining engine-specific emissions rates from compressor station-level measurements, VCCER will employ NETL’s optical gas detection cameras to qualitatively delineate emissions sources. All data, including instrumentation diagnostics, will be continuously transmitted to a distributed or “cloud-based” data management system that can be monitored and downloaded remotely at will.





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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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