TransCanada’s expertise in pipeline maintenance is helping the Global Methane Initiative combat greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, a group of Chinese delegates from the China National Petroleum Corporation braved Alberta’s cold and windy climate to visit TransCanada’s Airdrie Service Centre. The gathering was part of an international program focused on educating countries such as China on best practices for pipeline operations. Joined by delegates from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and TransCanada’s climate change and air emissions manager and policy advisor, the event included a tour and several presentations on TransCanada’s use of mobile compressor stations to reduce methane emissions during pipeline maintenance.
As a leading pipeline transportation company in North America, TransCanada has been recognized by both the American and Canadian governments as a world leader in the application of mobile compressor station technology, which can reduce methane emissions related to pipeline maintenance by up to 90 per cent.
“We have been working with TransCanada for several years now to help educate other countries emerging in the development of their own resources on best practices in the pipeline industry,” said Michael Layer, senior program manager in the Energy Technology and Programs Sector at Natural Resources Canada. “Through its mobile compressor technology, TransCanada has been recognized for its best practices in natural gas pipeline maintenance.”
Unlike permanent compressor stations, which are necessary to ensure natural gas continues to flow throughout the pipeline system, mobile compressors move on flat-bed trucks to assist in pipeline maintenance activities. These mobile stations move across Canada and the United States to help divert gas out of pipeline sections that are shut down for maintenance.
This practice allows TransCanada to save between 70-90 per cent of the natural gas that was traditionally released through venting or flaring. By utilizing the technology, TransCanada continues to reduce its environmental footprint and preserves gas for pipeline customers that would otherwise be lost.
There are only eight TransCanada mobile compressor units currently operating throughout Canada.
“TransCanada has been using what’s called pull-down or mobile compressors when doing maintenance on natural gas lines for many years now,” said Liz Siarkowski, climate change advisor for TransCanada’s Climate Change and Air Emissions Group. “The compressors have become an integral part of our pipeline maintenance program and we are proud of the recognition we have received for our work.”
The international program, called the Global Methane Initiative, was established by the United States in 2004 and focuses on the management of global methane gas emissions.
Methane gas is a potent greenhouse gas that enters the atmosphere from many different sources, including industry, agriculture and natural events. Canada joined the program shortly after its conception and has since been a strong partner, as the United States continues to make it a key component in its overall climate change agenda.
“The initiative aims to reduce methane emissions by developing global strategies for methane reduction,” said Roger Fernandez, team leader in the Global Methane Initiatives’ Natural Gas Star Program at the Environmental Protection Agency. “When countries like China, Russia, Mexico and others come to us to learn about pipeline best practices, TransCanada is always one of the first organizations we contact. We look forward to working with them more in the future.”