Friday, September 28, 2018

GHGSat Raises $10Mln US in Series A2 Financing; Gains Access to Worlds Largest Oil and Gas Customers

          By Chuck Black

According to Montreal PQ based GHGSat CEO Stéphane Germain, the most important takeaway from the recent announcement that his firm had raised US$10Mln US ($13Mln CDN) in Series A2 financing in a deal led by the London UK based OGCI Climate Investments, was to note that it provided "access to the world's largest grouping of oil and gas companies interested in the transition to a lower carbon future."

Germain spoke with this blog earlier in the week.

OGCI is the billion dollar investment arm of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) a voluntary, CEO-led initiative composed of approximately a dozen of the world's top oil and gas companies. OGCI was "created to pool knowledge and collaborate on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" according to the OGCI website.

The latest funding also included financial backing from Houston TX based Schlumberger (the world's largest oilfield services company), the New York NY based Space Angels Network and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), a Montreal PQ based crown corporation.

CEO Germain. Photo c/o GHGSat.
As outlined in the September 24th, 2018 GHGSat press release, "GHGSat Raises US$10M in Financing Led by OGCI Climate Investments," the company has raised over $20Mln US ($26Mln CDN), including contributions from both the Canadian and Albertan governments.

In June 2016, GHGSat launched the the GHGSat-D next generation greenhouse gas monitoring satellite, the first commercial satellite capable of tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industrial sites

For background on this satellite, check out the November 30th, 2015 Special Report, "'All Systems Go!' GHGSat Completes Testing and is Ready for Launch."

The new funding will be used to build two more satellites similar in function to the first, plus design a new series of aircraft spectrometers and optimize existing capabilities to "accelerate efforts on the analytics required to properly assess the data," according to Germain.

The new satellites “will have an order of magnitude better performance when we're finished,” predicted Germain, while still remaining about the same size and shape as the original GHGSat-D, also known affectionately as "Claire."

As outlined in the September 26th, 2018 Scientific American post, "Private Company Plans to Launch More Greenhouse Gas-Detecting Satellites," GHGSat's target market includes oil and gas companies, which can use satellite reports to monitor leaks from refineries, wellheads and lengthy pipeline systems.
GHGSat is also working with a branch of the Australian government to pinpoint leaks from coal mines and has another contract to identify methane and carbon dioxide leaks from large hydroelectric dams operated by Hydro-Québec.
The company also maintains contacts with the New York NY based Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group working on its own MethaneSAT program and the European Space Agency (ESA), which launched the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite in October 2017.

One of the instruments on board the Sentinel-5 is the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), which, although its mission is scientific and not commercial, performs a similar function and has a much larger field of view.

As series of Earth observations from GHGSat-D, the first operational satellite from GHGSat, also known as "Claire." As outlined on the GHGSat "Observations of Methane Emissions from Coal Mines" webpage, measurement noise "can make it difficult to detect methane point sources from a single observation, but temporal averaging of multiple observations reduces the noise. We find that aggregating data from ten to twenty GHGSat-D overpasses reveals strong time-averaged plume signals from three coal mines. Once these plumes are detected, we use two methods to estimate the corresponding source rates: one based on the observed integrated mass enhancement (IME) and another based on the average cross-sectional flux." Photo's c/o GHGSat.

But GHGSat isn't just a scientific venture. It's using scientific tools to solve a series of practical and immediate problems.

Germain knows that leaks from refineries, wellheads and lengthy pipeline systems are both expensive to clean up and costly from an ecological perspective. Oil and gas companies are actively searching for solutions.

According to Germain, "we now have access to the worlds largest customers and, through their membership in the OGCI, we now also have access to their procurement peopleWe're well on the way to scaling this company."
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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