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The Sustainability Sessions spotlights action-oriented companies that pave the way towards more sustainable futures.  Using cutting-edge solutions at all stages of the value chain, GLJ’s virtual presenters outline how their organizations actively support companies to reach ESG and sustainability targets and reduce emissions.

Reducing Emissions Through Continuous Monitoring and Artificial Intelligence

The recent shift in energy practices has led oil and gas companies to place higher scrutiny on their greenhouse gas emissions as governments, regulators, investors, communities, and customers demand cleaner energy with focused ESG efforts. Federal regulations that came into place on January 1, 2020 have mandated methane emissions from the Canadian oil and gas industry be reduced by 40 – 45% of 2012 levels by 2025; companies are actively working towards these reduction targets and require focused and adaptive solutions to help meet these goals.

Current regulatory compliance for methane detection can be achieved with intermittent monitoring using optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras for leak detection and repair (LDAR). These existing approved technologies have limitations in efficacy due to the intermittent nature of the ‘snapshot’ images that they create for surveyed oil and gas facilities on an annual or triannual basis and do not provide consistent baseline data. Fugitive emission leaks have temporal variability and can occur at any time in between survey timing, potentially causing leakage for several months without detection or repair, at a cost to both the operator with lost production and to the environment with increased emissions. OGI cameras used as LDAR technology can be highly subjective and do not provide operators with continuous site level data to improve confidence in their emission reduction efforts.

Accurate, continuous monitoring is essential for effective emissions reduction. Leaks that are detected faster can be fixed faster, leading to increased methane emissions reductions and improved environmental performance and sustainability. As ESG attention shifts from simply detecting and repairing leaks to requiring totalized emissions reporting, continuous monitoring and data transparency will be critical to provide producers and key stakeholders with reliable information to make informed and strategic decisions about their emissions practices.

Qube Technologies has developed environmental surveillance technology to continuously monitor and detect for greenhouse gas emissions. The technology uses low-cost, high sensitivity sensors to continuously monitor environmental conditions and automatically detect methane and other harmful gases in real-time. All monitored data is transmitted to a cloud-based platform where Qube can analyze, model, and infer information relating to site level leaks and emissions events. Leaks that may have previously gone unabated for months with traditional survey technology can be detected in days or weeks with immediate notifications sent to operations teams through a web-based dashboard, leading to expedited repairs to reduce emissions. The digitization and automation of emissions monitoring through Qube’s platform removes the operational requirement to schedule costly and time-consuming annual or triannual site inspections as the technology allows operators to oversee leaks only on an as-needed basis. Once detected, the technology relays inferred data on where leaks are occurring to an operations team in order to effectively repair and verify that the leak has been fixed.

As part of its technology platform, Qube is currently developing advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning models to accurately locate, quantify, and classify emissions in order to provide a robust solution for producers to meet and exceed emissions reduction targets, exceed industry standards, and lead in their sustainability efforts. Qube’s technology represents a step-change in emissions monitoring, offering operators an inexpensive and reliable system that enables rapid detection, localization, quantification, and classification of fugitive emissions.

As companies continue to seek solutions and require an increased ability to make informed decisions about their emissions reduction and ESG efforts, accurate and trusted data will be essential. Intermittent baseline data will be superseded by continuous data for emissions reduction and the use of artificial intelligence will enable prioritization of the largest areas of concern for companies that are paving the way in their efforts to cost-effectively reduce their carbon footprint. Investment opportunities and decisions and the associated cost of capital will be more heavily influenced by the ability of companies to showcase their ESG performance; accurate, trusted, continuous emissions data will allow leaders in the industry to outperform their peers in this arena. Future-proof technology is required as regulations, operational standards, and investment requirements become more stringent and increased attention and focus is placed upon environmental and sustainability efforts in the energy industry.

Qube Technologies is a Calgary-based start-up focused on the development of environmental surveillance technology through continuous monitoring and artificial intelligence. Qube’s mission is to help primary industries, such as oil and gas, cost effectively detect, quantify, and reduce methane and other emissions.

Published On: May 25, 2021Categories: SUSTAINABILITY


  • Alex MacGregor

    Alex has worked as a professional engineer in the oil and gas industry for over 10 years, including eight years in energy technology. He was formerly the Canadian sales and distribution manager for Ambyint and prior to that worked as a consultant for Aucerna in their Canadian, Australian, and Houston offices. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Geological Engineering from the University of British Columbia.