Updating operations practices to reduce emissions

Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of environmental stewardship, Kinder Morgan is taking steps to reduce emissions. One clear opportunity to meaningfully reduce emissions is in the way we handle planned natural gas releases, particularly through pumpdowns and blowdowns. 

Pumpdowns, in simple terms, involve transferring natural gas from a pipeline to a designated area, often an upstream or downstream segment of the same pipeline, before conducting planned maintenance or repairs on the pipeline. It's like guiding the gas into a holding area so that we can safely access the pipeline to conduct the maintenance or repairs without releasing the gas into the atmosphere.

On the flip side, blowdowns involve the intentional release of natural gas to the atmosphere. It's similar to letting off steam but results in emissions being released into the atmosphere. In situations where time is a critical factor, such as during unplanned maintenance or emergency repairs, blowdowns may be needed because blowdowns are faster and allow quicker access to the pipeline as compared to the gradual process of pumpdowns. Additionally, there may be instances where safety concerns require the immediate release of gas for the well-being of personnel or to prevent potential hazards. While blowdowns are unavoidable in certain situations to ensure the safety of our personnel, communities and assets, we are committed to optimizing the use of pumpdowns whenever possible.


We also invest in equipment that enhances the efficiency of pumpdown processes, like compressors that allow us to pump and compress gas, reducing the need for blowdowns. This meticulous process ensures we keep the gas in the pipe, maintaining its value and reducing its environmental impact.

As we navigate the complexities of energy transportation across the U.S., Kinder Morgan is committed to employing pumpdowns wherever practical, efficient and reasonable. By prioritizing this method over blowdowns, we aim to contribute to the ongoing development of a more environmentally conscious energy industry. 
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