Lockheed Martin Is Aiming Fighter Jet Technology at a Vexing Issue Confronting the Oil Patch

Lockheed Martin Co. is working alongside several small tech firms to deploy the infrared camera sensor technology used in its fighter jets to combat a pressing issue for the energy sector and its regulators — methane emissions from oil and gas drilling.In an unusual move that followed encouragement from investors, companies like BP, Exxon Mobil and Shell have begun voluntarily supporting solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.The support has been noteworthy considering oil and natural gas production accounts for nearly 94% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and one-third of methane emissions that contribute to climate change, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.BP is one of the companies deploying the repurposed infrared camera tech -- referred to as a video imaging spectral radiometry flare monitor -- to continuously measure the output of flares atop oil and gas drilling sites.Lockheed Martin discovered its fighter jet technology could be used to capture high-resolution, multispectral images of flare stacks in real time, according to a company spokesperson. The initiative to develop the technology was spurred by a grant from the EPA. The camera system is currently being deployed in Alaska and at offshore drilling sites. Companies behind the technology say it could find its way to the nation's biggest shale play, Texas' Permian Basin, soon as well.  Continue reading...

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