As part of Shell Canada’s commitment to responsible operations, a project team is finding ways to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint in the field while working to optimize operations and increase production capacity.
Jason McGillivray came to Shell with a forest products background and has held roles in both the project management and the health, safety and environment (HSE) disciplines. In his current role as a project delivery and construction specialist with the Groundbirch asset, he focuses on well pad and pipeline project delivery with a diverse team representing disciplines ranging from construction to regulatory. Together, this team works to improve the way Shell develops its natural gas resources.
One opportunity lies in further reducing methane emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG) that traps more heat and has a more powerful short-term impact on climate change than carbon dioxide. Methane emissions associated with oil and natural gas production may occur from: combustion, flaring, venting or as unintended fugitive emissions.
Shell is working to detect and lower methane emissions to minimize our impact on the environment and enhance the overall climate benefit of natural gas for power generation and other industrial and commercial uses.
“We have many initiatives already in place to reduce methane emissions,” says McGillivray listing out leak detection and repair, preventative maintenance, energy efficiency measures as well as flare and venting reduction programs. “Some of the valves used in typical industry processes are designed to vent small amounts of methane, and the emissions released from these valves in the Groundbirch field are an opportunity for improvement.”
McGillivray and his Groundbirch project team weighed the benefits and decided to move to a new multi well pad design with a zero-bleed philosophy (whereby methane is not “bled” or vented to the atmosphere).
“Our team is lucky to be part of an organization with a strong culture of continuous improvement and we’re always looking to do things better.” says McGillivray. “Even though it goes above and beyond regulatory requirements, we collectively agreed that it is the right thing to do in this situation in terms of our role in providing cleaner energy to Canada and the world.”