SPE News

A Practical Framework for Oil and Gas Operators to Estimate Methane Emission Duration Using Operational Data

Heightened focus on methane emissions management spurs a new conceptual framework to aid in determining the duration of detected methane emissions, data that may be useful to stakeholders responsible for measurement-informed emission protocols.

Methane Molecules
Source: peterschreiber.media/Getty Images

Methane management is a key greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction focus within the oil and gas industry. While there are a variety of techniques for methane detection and measurement, aircraft-mounted sensors have become popular for both academic studies and operators in onshore regions in North America due to their ability to screen many sites in a relatively short amount of time.

Many traditional leak detection and repair (LDAR) techniques, like optical gas imaging (OGI), and emerging approaches, such as aircraft-based or satellite-based screenings, are periodic, which means that they can provide information about the presence of emissions and approximate rates during the observation period. Scaling periodic observations to annual emission estimates needed for regulatory and corporate reporting requires information on emission duration, which is not generally provided by the same screening techniques.

In the literature to date, there have been several statistical approaches proposed for the annualization of basin-level methane observations, but these techniques may struggle to downscale to individual operators, across which methane emission intensities are expected to vary.

In this paper, we propose a novel, conceptual framework for using other sources of data, such as records from operator inspections and parametric monitoring, to help define the duration of detected methane emissions. Such information may prove to be a useful input to measurement-informed methane emission protocols that are under development by multistakeholder groups, like GTI Energy Veritas and federal agencies in the United States.

 This abstract is taken from paper SPE 219445 by S. Higgins, A. Hecobian, M. Baasandorj, and A. P. Pacsi, Chevron Corporation. The paper has been peer reviewed and is available as Open Access in SPE Journal on OnePetro.