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Largest US gas utility cut fugitive methane emissions by 37% in 2021.

By Dale Lunan

Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas), the largest gas distribution utility in the US, said June 16 it had reduced fugitive methane emissions from its operations by 37% in 2021, exceeding California’s target of a 20% reduction by 2025.

The 37% reduction last year brings the utility within easy reach of a state-mandated 40% reduction by 2030.

“It is a testament to our dedicated workforce that we have not only exceeded 2025 reduction goals, but also are quickly approaching 2030 goals as we continue to build the cleanest, safest and most innovative energy company in America,” COO Jimmie Cho said.

Much of the utility’s success in achieving the reductions come on the back of its significant innovation in new detection technologies. SoCalGas was the first utility in the US to implement aerial mapping of methane emissions using helicopter-mounted LiDAR technology, and has recently begun using drones – including a first-of-its-kind hydrogen-fueled drone – to map and detect methane.

Alongside the fugitive emissions reductions, SoCalGas has also reduced gas venting during routine maintenance by 94% from a 2015 baseline and emissions from its storage facilities by 92% by upgrading compressors and venting equipment.