A major Colorado-run pipeline carrying natural gas from the Rockies across the Midwest aims to offer the first carbon-neutral energy transport through a deal struck with a Denver emissions monitoring startup.
Leawood, Kansas-based Tallgrass Energy signed a multi-year emissions verification deal with Project Canary covering the 1,679-mile Rockies Express Pipeline, the companies announced Tuesday.
The agreement includes having Project Canary monitor in real time all the Rockies Express Pipeline’s 22 compressor stations for methane emissions, which the companies say is a first for an interstate natural gas pipeline.
The long-term goal of the agreement is to quickly detect leaks and fix them and verify the Rockies Express’ natural gas transport is carbon neutral, which means it doesn’t add to the greenhouse gases collecting in the atmosphere, causing climate change.
“This first-of-its kind engagement underscores the critical importance of natural gas transmission systems in the energy transition,” said Matt Sheehy, Tallgrass’ president, in a statement. “Customers want assurances that natural gas is produced responsibly and being transported via low emissions pipeline systems.”
The monitoring systems will start being set up later this year and are expected to be operating in mid-2022, the companies said.
The Rockies Express is one of the nation’s major natural gas pipelines, connecting natural gas fields in the Rocky Mountain region and Appalachia to major population centers in the eastern U.S.
The two-way, pressurized pipeline can carry as much as 4.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
It starts near the town of Meeker, in western Colorado, and crosses Wyoming and five other states to reach eastern Ohio. The pipeline started operation in 2011.
Tallgrass owns 75% of the Rockies Express and operates it. Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) owns the remaining 25%.
The company says it intends to offer natural gas producers in Appalachia dedicated carbon-neutral transport to Midwestern markets.
Methane, the active ingredient in natural gas, is considered an especially potent greenhouse gas, one that’s shorter-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, and as a result is seen as a particularly valuable type of emissions to eliminate in the effort to ward off the worst effects of climate change.
Project Canary, launched in 2019, sells continuous emissions monitoring and related services to oil and gas producers and infrastructure companies.