Project Canary and its Project Canary Foundation is taking care of business – quite literally.
The Denver, Colorado-based Public Benefit Corporation provides a technology platform to help energy-intensive companies collect, analyze and report emissions and environmental risks.
Coupled with the foundation, a team of scientists, engineers, and operators work on developing climate-friendly monitoring systems and technologies to address the more than 2 million abandoned oil and gas wells in the U.S. Fixing those leaks of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) is part of what is called the “plug and abandon” process, or P&A, in the energy industry.
“Methane is more than 80x more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). As a result, its atmospheric levels have increased by 156% since the 1700s,” notes Project Canary on its website. “But it’s not all bad news. Compared to carbon dioxide, methane stays in the atmosphere for a relatively short time (approximately a decade compared to CO2’s 20-50 years). This means that if we take immediate action, we can significantly impact and alter the course of changes to the climate in our lifetime.”
Project Canary was created to be able to measure methane and its impact. “Many of the current methods of measuring methane are not sufficient in this era of technology and reporting,” writes one of the founders. “Nearly all measurements of methane occur from estimates conducted periodically via an Environmental Protection Agency-mandated process: trained technicians scan for potential leaks using cameras or other sensors.”
While cameras can give approximations, their downside is that it’s done intermittently, leading to inaccurate estimates. In addition, they miss the small and intermittent leaks.
Project Canary is able to capture and quantify all emissions thanks to its sophisticated technology and monitoring. In addition, the company gives certifications to companies that are responsible in this aspect. This makes them also more accountable for the communities in which they operate.
A recent example is Project Canary’s partnership with Civitas, Colorado’s largest pure-play oil and gas producer. The partnership will lead to the voluntary plug of 42 wells in the state.
“We’ll be providing TrustWell engineering services to these 42 wells and installing continuous monitoring devices to establish the emissions profiles of the wells,” says Project Canary. “Once proper P&A activities are complete, our devices will remain on-site to ensure that emissions stay in the ground.”
Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission estimates that there are 410 orphaned wells in the state. The state of Colorado has committed to reducing GHGs by 26%, 50%, and 90% by 2025, 2030, and 2050, respectively, compared to 2005 levels. As the wells produce no energy, plugging them effectively helps with improving the environment.
“The Project Canary Foundation and Project Canary, are dedicating resources, including people, monitoring systems, and technologies, to help with USA P&A efforts and improve our planet’s future of our planet,” says the company. “With both a Foundation and a B-Corp, the Project Canary dedication runs deep. P&A is an often unknown and unseen problem that can be addressed by partnering with other nonprofits and companies equally dedicated to impacting climate change.”