PHMSA Unveils $196M for Gas Pipeline Projects
Earlier this month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced $196 million in funding from a new grant program to improve public safety, protect public health, and reduce methane emissions from natural gas distribution pipes.
The funding was awarded to 37 projects across 19 states through the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization program, which was established by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
“This funding to modernize our gas pipelines will help protect residents from dangerous leaks, create good-paying jobs, and reduce methane emissions in communities across the nation, particularly in rural and underserved areas,” said Buttigieg in the release.
About the Projects
The grant program will reportedly provide nearly $1 billion in funding over the course of five years to modernize municipally and community-owned natural gas distribution pipes, helping to keep communities across the country safe from pipeline leaks.
For the latest round of projects, the grants are anticipated to repair, replace, or rehabilitate nearly 270 miles of pipe, thereby reducing methane emissions by approximately 212 metric tons, annually.
Ultimately, these projects are expected to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. Additionally, they are projected to create hundreds of jobs in rural and urban communities.
Starting on April 5, Department of Transportation officials began delivering the grant funding as part of President Joe Biden’s Invest in America Tour. Secretary Buttigieg reportedly kicked off the week in Las Cruces, New Mexico, awarding $10 million to the City of Las Cruces.
“Investments in pipeline safety are investments in community safety and our shared environment,” said PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown. “For far too long, underserved communities have had to bear the brunt of aging and dangerous pipelines.
“This funding will finally give communities the resources they need to replace legacy pipelines—improving safety, protecting the environment, and creating jobs.”
The next funding opportunity of $392 million is expected to be released in May of this year.
Methane Emission Report, Efforts
A recent report from the International Energy Agency found that the global energy sector produced nearly 135 million tons of methane emissions in 2022, an increase from the year prior. The energy sector is reportedly responsible for almost 40% of total human-made methane emissions, second to the agriculture sector.
However, the IEA also notes that the oil and gas sector could reduce its emissions by over 75% by implementing methods such as leak detection and repair programs.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced almost $47 million in funding for 22 research projects to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. These projects are anticipated to advance the development of new and innovative measurement, monitoring and mitigation technologies to help detect, quantify and reduce these emissions.
According to the DOE, methane emissions are the second largest contributor to climate change, just behind carbon dioxide. The projects also support President Joe Biden’s U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Program, as well as the climate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
The DOE’s methane mitigation program addresses critical environmental issues associated with the production, transmission, and storage of domestic oil and natural gas. Projects will reportedly focus on technical challenges of quantifying and mitigating methane emissions along the U.S. oil and natural gas supply chain, including the development and demonstration of an efficient integrated methane monitoring platform to enable early detection of methane emissions.
The selected projects will advance technologies under five areas:
The department’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) will reportedly manage the selected projects. A full list of the selected projects can be found here.