Diversified Energy (DEC) announced that to support methane-reduction commitments it made at its Capital Markets Day event, it has engaged Bridger Photonics (Bridger), a leading provider of methane leak detection technology, to perform multi-year aerial scans of the Company's natural gas production and distribution assets starting with the Appalachian region.
Bozeman, Montana-based Bridger specialises in the application of precision laser imaging, detection, and ranging (LiDAR) equipment to identify methane emissions from gas and oil facilities. "We are thrilled to support Diversified Energy's leadership role and strong commitment to emissions reduction," said Pete Roos, President and CEO of Bridger Photonics. "Our Gas Mapping LiDAR technology will efficiently detect, pinpoint, and quantify typically more than 90% of basin emissions to inform and streamline Diversified's repair and maintenance activities," Roos added.
In early 2021, Diversified collaborated with Bridger to aerially detect fugitive natural gas emissions in a large segment of pipeline the Company acquired in Appalachia. During the field trial, Diversified confirmed that Bridger's advanced LiDAR technology detected emissions well below the EPA-defined leak definition of 500 parts per million.
Based on the successful field trial and as part of its $15 million annual initial funding commitment, the Company will expand its investment in aerial emissions scanning activities by spending $3 million per year on this aerial methane emissions detection over the next three years. This partnership with Bridger further validates the Company's investment in aerial LiDAR announced at its 17 November 2021 Capital Markets Day. Initially, Diversified will focus its scanning efforts on its Appalachian operations, and expects to expand the programme to cover its assets in the Central Region.
The aerial emissions detection scans, coupled with newly deployed handheld detection devices, support Diversified's commitment to perform comprehensive fugitive emissions assessments at all Appalachia wells by mid-2023, reflective of Diversified's zero-tolerance policy toward fugitive natural gas emissions. Diversified's investment in aerial emissions detection is an extension of its Smarter Asset Management ("SAM") programme focused on operational excellence, stewardship of existing assets and enhanced asset integrity that serves as a return on this methane emission-reduction investment.
Reflecting its ongoing commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance, the Company continues to evaluate additional emission reduction investment opportunities. The Company remains committed to documenting and publicly disclosing the results of its emissions detection and repair activities, which it designs to meet or exceed state and federal regulatory requirements.
Rusty Hutson, Jr., CEO of the Company, commented:
"Today's commitment to invest $9 million over the next three years into advanced LiDAR technology supports our near-term goal to reduce our 2020-level methane emissions by 30% by 2026 on the way to net-zero by 2040. Adding aerial emissions detection to the handheld devices we've placed in the hands of our skilled well tenders further enhances our ability to detect and repair fugitive emissions across our asset base. Our partnership with the Bridger team is another important milestone as we continue to evaluate other investments that will support our methane-reduction initiatives."