Statoil joins Methane Detectors Challenge with technology pilots on horizon

July 30, 2015
Steven Goldman, (202) 572-3357,

Environmental Defense Fund welcomes international energy company Statoil to the ranks of companies participating in the groundbreaking Methane Detectors Challenge as the second round of technology testing concludes. Launched in spring 2014, the Challenge is a collaboration between environmental organizations, eight oil and natural gas companies, technology developers, and government and academic advisors. The partners aim to identify and bring to market new, cutting-edge technologies that could ultimately help reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations.

“Statoil has invested in multiple research and technology initiatives to mitigate methane emissions from its operations globally. As a lesson learned from these experiences, Statoil recognizes that the timely detection of methane emissions remains the single most important factor in addressing this key issue,” said Desikan Sundararajan, senior researcher for Statoil’s shale oil & gas research team.

Methane emissions present an economic and environmental opportunity for the oil and gas industry. There is a market-wide need for cost-effective technologies that provide continuous detection of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can escape during production, transportation and delivery of natural gas. In addition to its impact on the climate, because methane is the primary component of natural gas, it represents a wasted energy resource when it is emitted into the atmosphere.

“Addressing the climate impacts of using natural gas requires minimizing methane emissions,” said Ben Ratner, EDF senior manager for the project. “Continuous detection must be the eventual best practice for protecting climate and communities, while cutting waste of a valuable natural resource. We’ve come to expect real time information in the digital age; notifications of oil and gas methane emissions to enable rapid repairs should be no exception.”

Headquartered in Norway and operating in 37 countries, Statoil joins Anadarko, Apache Corporation, BG Group, Hess Corporation, Noble Energy, Shell and Southwestern Energy as an industry partner in this effort. Later in 2015, it is anticipated that some of the companies will select one or more of the most advanced technologies for an initial wave of industry pilot purchases and trial deployments at operating facilities.

“In line with Statoil’s publicly stated ambition to be recognized as the most carbon efficient oil and gas producer, we intend to field test the methane detection technology platform(s) selected under this challenge at one or more production sites in 2016. Our ambition is to address the important issue of methane emissions by driving innovation through this unique partnership and ultimately deploying practical, cost-effective solutions,” noted Bruce Tocher, manager for shale oil & gas research at Statoil.

 “With its international presence and strong interest in driving innovation, Statoil is a welcome addition to the Methane Detectors Challenge and rounds out a group of eight active industry partners,” said Ratner. “We look forward to collaborating with them to launch emerging technologies at industry pilot sites next year – a big step in the continuous improvement journey.”

Full details on the Methane Detectors Challenge, including progress on the Challenge and details on the competing technologies, can be found at


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