Long-Term, Periodic Aerial Surveys Cost-Effectively Mitigate Methane Emissions

This paper presents 2 years of results from an ongoing multiyear initiative consisting of periodic, large-scale aerial methane surveys paired with ground crew inspection, validation, and prioritized repair.

<b>Fig. 1—</b>A methane plume, colored by methane concentration from blue (low) to white (high) and generated by an imaging spectrometer, emanates from a well pad imaged using a high-resolution optical camera.
Source: SPE paper 201312

Detecting and reducing fugitive methane emissions can be time-intensive and costly for the oil and gas industry. Currently, leak detection and repair (LDAR) surveys are required periodically to inspect equipment and infrastructure for potential problems. Traditional LDAR, while effective for identifying the source of an emission, generally requires personnel traveling to each site to inspect equipment in situ, which can be costly in terms of labor and travel time. Moreover, prioritizing inspections by a set schedule and available manpower, rather than the known presence of ongoing methane emission, creates a situation where fugitive emissions can occur undetected for a long time between site visits.

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