On Engineering Standards

After a decade in the field as a petroleum engineer, often in remote areas and exposed to extreme conditions, I learned that that by and large, there aren’t many huge leaks, but the aggregate of tiny leaks from o-rings and gaskets can really start to add up. Continuous improvements, I’ve found, can make a much more significant impact. 

I have seen people become masters of their craft and gain experience far beyond what can be taught in a classroom. Above all, I have seen people who genuinely care about the places they live and work, whether in the hills of Appalachia, the plains of Oklahoma, or the expanses of West Texas.

It’s devastating to see floods take out roads, tornadoes destroy neighborhoods, or cold snaps take utility systems to the brink of failure. All this happens in and around the communities and worksites that thousands of oil and gas professionals call home. Over the last decade, climate change has continued to present us with challenges and obstacles to overcome. We know that hydrocarbons are essential to so many vital aspects of our lives and lifestyles, but we also need to find concrete ways to reduce the climate impact of our industry.

I’ve always relied on mentoring, feedback, and guidance from peers and industry leaders as an individual. Everyone wants to be successful. As individuals with a growth plan, how can we as an industry continue to grow and get better if we’re not getting feedback and updating our approach? Receiving continuous feedback on operations is critical to reducing the environmental impacts of the oil and gas industry.

At Project Canary, the idea that we can always be doing better drives us to make responsibly sourced gas (RSG) and continuous monitoring the new norm. While greenhouse gas emissions inventories can be a significant first step in assessing emissions, they often miss the big picture and don’t provide room for improvement. Like a supervisor that gives you a thumbs up without discussing any shared opportunities for improvement, operations that aren’t collecting continuous data are missing opportunities for growth. 

When I spent time both in field operations and in-office technical roles, I saw instances of operations that could easily lessen the impact of methane emissions. Sometimes, genuinely brilliant field operators came up with novel solutions that saved money and reduced environmental impacts. Some practices never changed because they had always been done or because changing it would be too bothersome.

When it comes to methane emissions monitoring and RSG, operators don’t want to get a thumbs up and a pat on the back. They want to be held to the standard, and often a higher standard they have earned as one of the most demanding working industries in the world. Sometimes this involves difficult discussions. Critical feedback is hard.

That’s why engineering rigor is at the heart of everything we do at Project Canary. Actually, it’s not just the rigor. It’s the respect for high-caliber engineers with field, offshore, and technical experience that we prize. Our teams of engineers have decades of collective experience in oil and gas standards. We cover over 800 data points from upstream to midstream and comb through hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of documentation pages to ensure that the highest standards are applied to operations. 

In fact, only Project Canary team members carry out assessments, never contractors. It’s the only way to ensure that each data point we cover is investigated by someone who has seen the best and worst the industry offers and has committed to driving improvement. 

About Project Canary

Project Canary is a SaaS-based data analytics company focused on accurate corporate climate ESG data for emission-intensive industrial companies. We are the leaders in holistic environmental assessments (air, water, land, and community). Project Canary scores responsible operations, delivering independent emission profiles via high-fidelity continuous monitoring technology to provide actionable environmental performance data. Our sensor portfolio includes high-fidelity spectroscopy-based methane detection and emissions quantification for the oil and gas sectors, plus Aeris Technologies’ laser-based gas analyzers covering other emissions, including ethane, nitrous oxide, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, benzene, and more. Formed as a Public Benefit Corporation, Project Canary’s Denver-based team of scientists, engineers, and seasoned industry operators identify and quantify areas to reduce emissions. www.projectcanary.com

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