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Offshore Emissions: Detecting Leaks & Super Emitters in the Most Remote Locations

Updated: Aug 6, 2023


The Climate Crisis & Offshore Emissions


Experts are estimating that Summer 2023 is the hottest Earth has experienced in 120,000 years. The climate crisis we’re facing has reached objectively epic proportions and it’s no longer a question of if or when to take radical action — it’s how and with which technologies.


In this battle and our collective efforts toward a truly sustainable future, offshore GHG emissions have emerged as a critical issue. And among these, especially methane (CH4).


Due to its molecular composition, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, traps more heat in the atmosphere per molecule than carbon dioxide, making it 80 times more harmful for two decades after it’s released into the atmosphere.


This means that methane is a key component of global warming.

"Short of a mini-Ice Age over the next days, Summer 2023 will shatter records across the board” - U.N. Secretary-general António Guterres

Addressing offshore methane emissions released into our atmosphere is crucial for combating climate change, decarbonizing industries and reaching net-zero by mid-century.


But this isn’t possible without technologies that enable the detection and mitigation of methane in the most remote locations – especially offshore.


Offshore Methane Emissions: The Silent Threat in the Air


Invisible offshore methane emissions originate from oil and gas production facilities, such as production platforms and systems. As a result of extraction, transportation, and processing activities, leaks occur and methane is released directly into the atmosphere.


And these leaks aren’t minor. A study published last year found that shallow water oil and gas platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico were substantially higher than those from drilling on land.


Methane leaking from offshore facilities account for about 30% of global oil and gas methane emissions but are difficult to study because they are so remote.

Other studies suggest that the current methods for calculating methane emissions rely on outdated and incomplete information that doesn’t accurately represent actual emissions.


Several factors contribute to the lack of accurate detection, monitoring and reporting at offshore oil and gas facilities. Firstly, they’re remote. Offshore platforms are in international waters where a kind of regulatory wild west exists. Secondly, accurately detecting and measuring leaks and emissions offshore require specific technologies that deliver precise and cost-effective solutions.


The question is, how much methane is actually being emitted right now in offshore locations across the globe?


The short answer: we don’t know… yet.


Getting it Right: Detecting Offshore Methane Emissions With Advanced Technologies


At Momentick, we’re here to detect, measure and stop emissions with high precision and accuracy. We’re here to get it right.


We know that the precise detection of offshore methane emissions is essential for identifying emission sources, quantifying emissions, and developing effective strategies for mitigation across the energy sector on a global scale.

Also, accurate and verifiable monitoring is crucial for measuring emissions performance and verifying compliance with regulations where and when they exist. Monitoring solutions currently include advanced sensors, drones, and remote aerial imaging. While on-site sensors can sound the alarm when a leak occurs, drones and other remote imaging provide a bird's-eye view of offshore facilities, detecting methane leaks with exceptional precision. These aerial images complement ground-based monitoring efforts, offering a comprehensive understanding of methane emissions from offshore oil and gas installations.


But there are critical drawbacks.


Drones and planes require human involvement or guidance. They’re also costly operations limited to small geographic areas and at the mercy of difficult weather conditions.


Advanced Satellite Imaging is the Solution


Satellite imagery overcomes these challenges.


Detecting emissions in satellite imagery with technology like Momentick’s provides a big-picture view of methane emissions over vast offshore regions. While a drone or plane can only survey a specific area, near-continuous satellite imaging for massive global areas can be analyzed at the same time.


When we apply advanced algorithms to these images, our technology delivers near-real-time monitoring of vast offshore locations. This emissions intelligence gives the oil and gas industry and regulatory bodies to know exactly where methane is being emitted and at what rate with a level of accuracy and at a global scale that isn’t possible with other remote-monitoring solutions.


Satellite technology also ensures a constant on-demand flow of data on methane concentrations offshore. This data-driven approach facilitates data analytics and trend analysis, allowing for verification of emissions performance and the identification of patterns and potential sources of emissions. By understanding these patterns, energy companies, international bodies and governments can implement targeted emission reduction strategies, further enhancing our global sustainability efforts.


It also provides important tools for financial institutions and investors. With accurate emissions intelligence for offshore locations across the globe, sustainable and green decision-making is made easier and more transparent.


Driving Essential Climate Action


There’s no question that if the majority of offshore methane emissions are accurately detected, swift and targeted mitigation efforts essential to curbing the invisible methane threat in our atmosphere will revolutionize our fight against global warming.


Driven by new regulations, oil and gas companies are already increasingly adopting proactive measures, such as implementing robust inspection and maintenance strategies and protocols to minimize methane leaks during production and operations.


This is the climate action we need. But it's only possible if we harness the power of satellite technology.


Momentick is committed to making this happen so that we can save our planet and pave the way for a greener tomorrow.


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