A Colorado startup that led a push to help companies market their natural gas as more environmentally friendly is shuffling leaders and shifting its business strategy amid questions about the role of so-called responsibly sourced gas.
(Bloomberg) — A Colorado startup that led a push to help companies market their natural gas as more environmentally friendly is shuffling leaders and shifting its business strategy amid questions about the role of so-called responsibly sourced gas.
Project Canary, the Denver-based company that had signed up customers including Chevron Corp. and Southwestern Energy Co., is now being led by co-CEOs Tim Romer and Will Foiles, according to a statement from a Project Canary spokesman. Longtime CEO Chris Romer left the post and became executive chairman of Project Canary’s board, the spokesman said.
The personnel shift comes as Project Canary focuses more squarely on measuring and interpreting data about methane leaks and other emissions at oil and gas operations rather than its proprietary ratings of environmental performance at individual sites. The company described the personnel changes in an email to customers obtained by Bloomberg News, and it posted a Denver Business Journal article about the pivot on its website Tuesday.
“We’re trying to be responsive to the market” and buyers who are looking for more granular data on a range of factors, from water handling to methane intensity, Tim Romer told Bloomberg in an interview Wednesday. “That’s where we see the market going to — where it’s much more informed.”
The company will keep offering its TrustWell system of assessments and ratings, Romer said, while continuing to “take feedback from folks as to how to make it better.”
US regulators already are moving to tighten requirements for detecting leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas equipment. US Department of Energy officials also are in talks with other countries aimed at forging a consensus on the best approach to assessing methane emissions.
Robust methane monitoring and certification regimes offer the promise of helping natural gas buyers pinpoint supplies with the lowest carbon footprint — while pushing producers to aggressively combat leaks.
But climate activists argue that lax certification programs are tantamount to greenwashing, potentially giving false assurances to gas buyers and prolonging demand for the fossil fuel without driving significant environmental gains.
Environmentalists have singled out Project Canary for extra scrutiny over a corporate structure they said blends methane measurement and certification, while other auditors rely on third-party data.
The advocacy groups Earthworks and Oil Change International issued a report earlier this year describing potential conflicts of interest as well as discrepancies between data reported by the firm and what they appeared to detect using optical gas imaging at some sites. Project Canary argued flawed interpretations undermined the analysis.
–With assistance from Zachary R. Mider.
(Updates with comment from executive in fourth paragraph.)
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