Finding and Quantifying Fugitive Methane Emissions
Natural gas, the main constituent of which is methane, is seen by the oil and gas industry as a key fuel option for a lower-carbon future. Facing increasing demand, heightened government regulations, and rising investor expectations for greener oil and gas portfolios, companies across all industry sectors seek effective methods to reduce the number of leaks and mitigate methane emissions. To do so requires new technologies that detect, pinpoint, and quantify leaks so oil and gas companies have the data needed to tackle emissions head on.
Defining the Natural Gas Production Sector
After an exploration phase, companies operating in the production sector extract natural gas from underground reservoirs and bring it to the surface across vast oil fields through well pads and rigs. Sometimes the extracted natural gas accompanies oil and other liquids and gases that requires these companies to separate out, and often compress, these products and byproducts for appropriate end uses.
Challenges Facing the Production Sector
One of the most significant challenges for the production sector is finding and fixing fugitive emissions. The EPA estimates that 68% of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry is generated from the production sector, which makes emissions reduction a high priority for producers. Increased awareness of the effects of methane as a greenhouse gas (GHG) has caused rising social pressure for production companies to detect and mitigate methane emissions. Portfolio companies, individual investors, social environmental groups, and exposés in mainstream media, cause producers of all sizes to confront their emissions challenges and deploy solutions to address them.
Additionally, the regulatory environment for the oil and gas industry is increasingly stringent and complex. In the US, regulations are set at the federal level by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Quad Oa, establishing emission standards and compliance schedules for the control of GHG. In Canada, federal and provincial authorities align more closely with setting and enforcing regulations. Most of Canada’s oil and gas wells are in Alberta and are regulated by Alberta’s Energy Regulators (AER).
Beyond regulatory requirements, some production companies are exploring voluntary emission reduction initiatives that “certify” that their natural gas is produced through low-emission operations. Although certification standards are not yet uniformly defined, a growing sentiment is that emissions must be quantified for accurate measurement, and independent third-party compliance auditing is needed. As producers navigate this evolving landscape of responsibly produced gas, they must evaluate technology options that enable them to fully participate in the certified gas marketplace.
Some production companies have hundreds or thousands of well sites that they must survey semi-annually to monitor for emissions, and the current process of monitoring these sites is inefficient. As most sites do not have methane leaks, visiting them in person is an inefficient use of LDAR resources, time, and money. When a site does have emissions, ground crews must search for leaks and locate which piece(s) of equipment require attention.
Finally, owners and operators want to keep their crews safe. Depending on the technology used, ground crews may not always know the exact location and size of emissions before entering a site, exposing them to on-site hazards. Preventing leaks and long-term exposure can help avoid infrastructure accidents and occupational exposure that could harm people and the environment.
How Gas Mapping LiDAR Helps the Production Sector
Gas Mapping LiDAR™ uses state-of-the-art aerial laser technology finely tuned to methane that detects more than 90 percent of emissions within a typical production basin. Bridger’s technology, data analytics, and algorithms help production companies reduce methane emissions, comply with regulatory requirements, participate in voluntary emission reduction initiatives, increase efficiency of ground crews, and enable safer operations.
The value of Gas Mapping LiDAR is clear as we help production companies:
Reduce Emissions – Gas Mapping LiDAR provides production companies with a map that includes plume images, GPS coordinates, and quantification of every detected emission in infrastructure scanned. Our aerial LDAR technology scans sites to reveal methane hot spots and fugitive emissions, enabling targeted leak mitigation.
Comply with Regulations – Our aerial LiDAR scans help production companies meet sustainability objectives and commitments and are on track to comply with federal and state rules (depending on location). Verifiable data produced by Gas Mapping LiDAR includes GPS coordinates, identification of equipment, imaging of the sites, and quantification of emissions that has led to our technology being included in the first ever AMEL application for Quad Oa. Learn more about the AMEL application process in our FAQ.
Prepare for Certification – Gas Mapping LiDAR’s ability to quantify methane leaks could benefit producers interested in pursuing certification. In a blind study, Bridger quantified aggregate emissions to an accuracy level of single-digit percentage, a capability that could be beneficial for the responsibly sourced gas initiative. Read more about our quantification capabilities in our recent white paper.
Improve Efficiency – With Gas Mapping LiDAR, emissions are pinpointed and quantified to help ground crews know where to focus when visiting a site. If an emission is detected and identified with Gas Mapping LiDAR, crews can prioritize fixing the largest leaks first, but also bring the equipment necessary to fix leaks, reducing repeat visits.
Safer Operations – Gas Mapping LiDAR helps customers know leak size prior to ground crews entering a site. Furthermore, the largest, most significant emitters can be prioritized, repaired quickly, improving safety for workers, property, plant, and equipment. Actionable data provides details of leak size prior to ground crews entering a site.
Looking for the Best Methane Emission Detection Technology?
Bridger Photonics Gas Mapping LiDAR has unmatched airborne sensitivity to detect, locate, and quantify methane emissions throughout the entire natural gas value chain. Contact us today to see how we can help find and quantify your fugitive methane emissions.