There's been lots of troubling research that points to unacceptably high methane emissions from oil and natural gas production. The need for tougher regulations and ubiquitous monitoring is apparent, as readers of this blog know.
Colorado has blazed the regulation trail at the state level, and institutions like MIT have encouraged the development of new methane-sensing technologies. But one organization has worked to propel the essential development of deployable methane monitoring technologies sooner, rather than later.
The Environmental Defense Fund and seven oil and natural gas companies created the Methane Detectors Challenge "aimed at identifying next-generation technologies that will help better monitor methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations, with the intent to ultimately promote meaningful reductions of these gases."
The participating companies in the Challenge are Shell, Anadarko, Apache Corporation, BG Group, Hess Corporation, Noble Energy and Southwestern Energy.
Yesterday, EDF announced five finalists in the Challenge.
EDF continues to do great work on several fronts in grappling with this critical issue. They - and their partners - are demonstrating the power of collaboration. While no substitute for strong regulation and enforcement, the development of new monitoring technologies is the piece that's been missing in accurately assessing and coming to grips with the fundamental issue of fugitive methane from oil and gas production.