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More than 60 oil and gas companies committed on 23 November to a new framework to report methane emissions as the United Nations reported that atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas reached a record high. As a part of the voluntary framework, companies will share their own methane reduction targets with OGMP, an initiative managed by the UN Environment Programme. The plan revamps an existing OGMP framework and calls on companies to outline how they will realize their objectives to cut methane emissions. The 62 companies that have joined OGMP represent an estimated 30% of global oil and gas production, according to the partnership. The group said it seeks to deliver a 45% reduction in the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions by 2025.
Methane (CH4), the primary constituent of natural gas and is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide (CO2), accounts for 16% of global emissions. The lifetime of methane in the atmosphere is much shorter than CO2, but CH4 is more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2. Pound for pound, the comparative effect of CH4 is more than 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period. Natural-gas emissions from oil and gas facilities such as well sites, refineries, and compressor stations can have significant safety, economic, and regulatory effects. Continuous emission detection systems enable rapid identification and response to unintended emission events.
According to the IEA, the oil & gas industry can achieve a 75% reduction in methane emissions with current technologies, and up to 70% at no net cost.
About 62% of the emissions CO2e is coming from upstream activities. Fugitive emissions constitute the biggest single emitting source. LDAR is therefore essential in every upstream asset. In this paper, I will discuss best practices and share case studies about how LDAR can help to minimize methane emissions.
Leak Detection and Repair programs have a long history with EPA Method 21 or OGI. LDAR is crucial to prioritize maintenance activities. Although some gas companies prefer OGI because of cost reasons, the more effective detection technique for all methane emissions is still using sniffing equipment PID or FID. A comparative study indicated that only 71% of the bigger leaks with more than 262 kg/year emissions are found with OGI and only 5% of the smaller leaks. Moreover, quantification of the mass leaks becomes much more accurate with sniffing equipment compared to camera screening combined with leak/no leak factors.
A best in class approach is realized with an LDAR campaign that applies Risk-Based Inspection considerations in combining measuring techniques like FID/PID and OGI and frequencies referring to the probability of occurrence and consequence of emissions (source type, historical performance, stream composition, HAP, …).
Another best in class practice is situated around repair activities. While in every campaign between 10 to 20% new leaks are identified, 80 to 90% of the emitting sources were leaking in previous measuring surveys and have returned. The tightening of leaking gaskets and seals provides a temporary better emission value of more than 90% reduction in only 62% of the repair attempts. Although a typical emission reduction improvement with a thorough LDAR program of 70% is achievable, more emphasis should go to in-depth problem solving to avoid recurring leaking sources. Examples include proactive mass replacement of certain gaskets or stem valve seals during turnaround activities. This continuous improvement realized with these repair activities decreases the fugitive emissions steadily.
Situations, where a yearly LDAR campaign has been omitted, demonstrate a quick return to past emission figures. Executing LDAR, finetuned to the situation and outstanding legislation, is necessary to contribute to lower methane and in general GHG emissions.
Based on our experience of delivering successful Leak Detection & Repair (LDAR) in the past three (3) decades, we would like to share
Also in this paper, we would like to highlight the importance of an integrated methane emission management platform (software) to ensure a transparent, auditable and manageable Methane Emission program.
Three global energy industry associations have signed on to the Methane Guiding Principles to increase focus on reducing methane emissions across the natural gas value chain. Woodside has joined BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Repsol, Shell, Statoil, Total,and Wintershall in signing the guiding principles that commit it to further reduce methane emissions from the natural gas assets it operates.
The Alberta government has announced a new liability management framework aimed at expediting the cleanup of orphan and inactive well sites, signaling a more active approach to reclamation and management of those sites. The Alberta Energy Regulator has suspended a wide array of environmental monitoring requirements for oilsands companies over public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. After years of negotiations, the province announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with the federal government that it calls a “major step toward providing Alberta’s oil and gas industry a single set of strong rules to reduce methane emissions and protect the environment.” An improved occupational health and safety system comes into effect on 1 June to better protect Alberta workers and ensure they have the same rights as other Canadians. The Alberta Energy Regulator has issued two draft directives that will require upstream oil and gas operators to reduce methane emissions from upstream oil and gas sites by 45% from 2014 levels by 2025.
A preliminary estimate from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that levels of atmospheric methane, a potent heat-trapping gas, have hit an all-time high. Natural-gas production in the United States has increased 46% since 2006, but there has been no significant increase of total US methane emissions and only a modest increase from oil and gas activity, according to a new NOAA study.
ExxonMobil is planning to build and operate a carbon capture facility in southwest Wyoming, according to a permit application filed with the state's environmental regulatory agency in January. Mosaic’s technology uses chemistry to remove carbon dioxide from emissions sources, and the two firms will be looking at how to scale it for industrial use. The small rainforest country nestled between Venezuela and Suriname has recently struck oil—a lot of it. With this newfound vast potential comes concern about developing the resources sustainably and with proper consideration for the country’s people and environment. ExxonMobil has committed $100 million over 10 years to work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory to bring lower-emissions technology to commercial scale.
The House voted 218–195 to strip funding for an Obama-era EPA effort to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas drilling sites. Eleven Republicans voted against the amendment, and three Democrats voted to block funding for the regulation. A federal appeals court is letting the Trump administration put on hold an Environmental Protection Agency methane pollution rule for oil and natural gas drilling. Public interest groups and local stakeholders at a public hearing on 10 July urged the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to enforce methane regulations. The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on 7 July to allow it to delay enforcement of an Obama administration rule to limit methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling.
A new regulation includes provisions related to the timely abandonment of "dormant sites," a new site classification that refers to inactive wellsites operated by solvent companies. A new integrated modeling tool helps Canada analyze methane emissions to get a better understanding of the economic and environmental implications. "I have some patients whose symptoms I can’t explain," physician Ulrike Meyer said, describing nosebleeds, rare cancers, and respiratory illness among a dearth of data. British Columbia is seeking to enhance its regulatory spill response regime across the province by way of a phased approach. Phase 2 is currently under way, and comments on this process are due by the end of April 2018.
Reported greenhouse-gas emissions from Canada’s oil patch have more than doubled in the year’s first half as changes to how they are measured revealed a more extensive picture of environmental damage, previously unreported industry data show. The Alberta government has announced a new liability management framework aimed at expediting the cleanup of orphan and inactive well sites, signaling a more active approach to reclamation and management of those sites. The Alberta Energy Regulator has suspended a wide array of environmental monitoring requirements for oilsands companies over public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. After years of negotiations, the province announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with the federal government that it calls a “major step toward providing Alberta’s oil and gas industry a single set of strong rules to reduce methane emissions and protect the environment.” Canada’s wood bison, who live in northern Alberta near the proposed site of Teck Resources’s Frontier oil sands project, face “imminent threats” to their recovery, a report from the country’s environment department said.