WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s plan to clamp down on methane emissions could be a money maker for the manufacturers of sealing devices and leak detectors used to track and contain the highly potent greenhouse gas.
Some 76 companies with more than 500 locations spread across 46 states sell services and equipment that could be tapped by oil and gas companies seeking to comply with the planned regulations, according to a report released last year.
On Wednesday, as the White House unveiled its methane blueprint, the industry built around finding and stopping the pollutant was touting its potential to reduce waste and create jobs.
The Fluid Sealing Association, which represents North American manufacturers of sealing devices used by the industry, said the group and its members “are committed to doing its part to address climate change.”
“The FSA is well equipped to work with our partners in the oil and gas sector, the EPA and the Obama administration in finding solutions and being a technical resource to curtail methane emissions,” the group said. “Member companies of the FSA offer American-made, cost-effective and proven solutions, and we develop sealing technologies that drive emission reductions across the U.S. oil and gas and process industries.”
Colorado-based Apogee Scientific, which makes a detection system for identifying hydrocarbon leaks, issued a statement saying it looked forward to working with the EPA and the oil and gas sector.
“We believe this EPA plan can be implemented in a cost effective manner and will create a cleaner environment for the United States, reduce waste and create jobs,” said Apogee president James Armstrong.
The developing methane mitigation industry is focused in states with substantial oil and gas production, with Houston serving as the headquarters to at least 16 companies making equipment to detect and trap methane.
One of them is Health Consultants, Inc., a 1,200-employee firm that designs, manufacturers and sells air sampling monitors and detectors that can pinpoint methane leaks up to 100 feet away.
Hoerbiger America Holding, a maker of seals and compression equipment, has manufacturing facilities in Houston.
Other local manufacturers of plunger lifts, seals, pneumatic controllers and other devices that could need upgrades under new methane mandates include Norriseal, EagleBurgmann, National Oilwell Varco and Stewart & Stevenson.
Methane emissions can happen all along the natural gas supply chain, beginning during production and processing at wells, as well as when it is transmitted, stored and distributed.