Virginia Natural Gas invests in new technology to reduce emissions during pipeline inspection and repairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – Oct. 5, 2022 – With a focus on the environment and sustainability, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) is utilizing innovative technology to reduce emissions while supporting efforts by its parent Southern Company, to reach net-zero direct greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Because of that commitment, VNG is focusing on several initiatives to improve natural gas service reliability and sustainability efforts that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions while safely delivering natural gas to customers.

One initiative is the use of cross-compression technology, a process by which natural gas is transferred from one pipeline to another during large construction and repair projects. When a pipeline is being decommissioned, repaired or inspected, natural gas must first be removed from the pressurized pipe. Before advances in cross-compression technology, small amounts of natural gas would be vented or flared into the atmosphere before the repair could be completed.

By using innovative cross-compression technology like Zero Emissions Vacuum and Compressor, or ZEVAC, natural gas is captured during maintenance or inspection and recycled back into the pipeline system for continued use. This results in less gas or methane entering the atmosphere.

“At VNG, our focus is on being good environmental stewards for a more sustainable future,” said Robert Duvall, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “It’s more important than ever to make progress in sustainability efforts while contributing to nationwide and global environmental goals. The ability to capture methane before it is released with cross-compression technology will provide lasting and positive effects on our environment.”

Now, using two ZEVAC machines purchased by the company, natural gas can be evacuated from one pipeline, with up to 99% transferred back into the pipeline system at a different location instead of being released into the atmosphere. A bonus is that the mobile units can fit in a standard truck cargo bed and are easily transported to worksites.

So far in 2022, VNG has saved 42 mcf of natural gas not vented into the atmosphere, the equivalent of recycling 6.9 cubic tons of waste not taken to a landfill.

“The use of cross-compression technology is helping VNG achieve our carbon reduction goals in a cost-effective and efficient way,” added Duvall. “ZEVAC is just one example of how we are using technology as part of our strategy to provide a clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy future for our customers and communities.”