Southern Ute methodology could incentivize recovery and use of seeping methane

16 June – A new methodology to quantify the greenhouse gas benefits of activities that capture methane seeping from coal bed methane deposits has been approved for use under the VCS Program.

The methodology was developed by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund and WSP Environment and Energy. It sets out specifications for quantifying the precise volume of GHG emissions avoided when methane seeping out around coal bed methane deposits is captured and flared or used, instead of seeping directly into the atmosphere.

Methane recovered from active coal bed methane production wells will not qualify for crediting under the methodology. Only methane escaping from seeps around the production site will be eligible. These much smaller volumes of methane would otherwise leak directly into the atmosphere.

“This methodology addresses an issue that is potentially very important for the Western United States and other areas where coal bed methane production is taking place,” said VCS CEO David Antonioli. “Methane can seep out all around coal bed methane deposits, and carbon finance can now help put a stop to that.”

Approval of the new methodology means projects may now use it to quantify emission reductions and removals and issue VCUs under the VCS Program.

The approach, which is called VM0014 Interception and destruction of fugitive methane from Coal Bed Methane (CBM) seeps, was assessed by two independent validators under the VCS Methodology Approval Process. The first independent validator was DNV, and the second was Bureau Veritas, which was contracted directly by the VCS Association. All assessment reports and other documents are available on the VCS website.