As Great Western continues to improve the ways we develop our natural resources, we also continue to improve the ways we protect the environment. This is part of our commitment to Colorado and the communities we serve. Since 2018, Great Western has been conducting pilot studies on new, compact hydrocarbon emissions monitoring sensors that give the natural gas and oil industry ways to remotely monitor emissions-related issues for an even more rapid response to potential issues at locations.
Great Western has in place, a long running Leak Detection and Repair Program (LDAR) utilizing infrared cameras to conduct inspections at all facilities. Through this program, we have reduced the overall leakage at our facilities. The small hydrocarbon sensors we have been piloting will complement our existing LDAR programs by adding the ability to remotely monitor emissions at our facilities. These high frequency hydrocarbon monitors, along with our existing Emergency Shutdown and Operational Monitoring supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems allow us to respond immediately to significant issues as well as prevent some emission from occurring.
Recognizing the need for continued progress along with our commitment to the environment and our community, Great Western is at the forefront of testing and developing these next generation hydrocarbon monitoring sensors to ensure we are acting as responsible community partners. While these hydrocarbon monitoring sensors are still in need of some technological development, we have committed to partnering with several vendors to support and lead these technological advancements. As part of this effort, we are evaluating innovative ways to integrate our existing continuous monitoring and control SCADA systems at these locations with the hydrocarbon monitoring data.
Our pilot study included three different systems across various locations and field environments. These systems have generated important data on how the sensors function outside of laboratory settings, in real world environments. During our testing, the sensors were deployed at seven different Great Western facilities in various stages of pre-construction, construction, drilling, completion and flowback operations, and production. Some of these devices are new, and before our pilot program, they had minimal testing in a natural gas and oil field setting.
The results will greatly aid in informing the industry and regulators on the benefits and drawbacks of deploying these sensors in a broader capacity. Our testing has shown that these sensors have the capability of detecting operational events that potentially release gas to the atmosphere, but still need additional quality assurance-quality control to validate the data and eliminate reporting anomolies.
Importantly, these studies also allowed us to create protocols for selecting appropriate sensors, set expectations for maintenance and calibration procedures, and derive meaning from the data.
Without cooperation from the industry, sensor developers often cannot predict how their products will perform in the field. In the short-term, this project helped the sensor developers improve their current generation’s sensor design, performance, and reliability. In the long-term, our pilot will inform future sensor development that will meet the needs of all stakeholders in natural gas and oil monitoring, enabling monitoring plans that are scientifically-backed and effective.
Being a partner in expanding and testing the newest technologies is just one way that Great Western is driving innovation to advance the company’s long-term goal of improving air quality in our operating basin.
Great Western is #CommittedtoColorado.