If national governments are serious about phasing out methane emissions by 2030, it starts with robust GHG monitoring.
And if oil and gas companies are going to drastically cut emissions, stop routine flaring, decarbonize their operations and harness regulatory opportunities, monitoring fugitive methane in their operations is the key to making it all happen.
Monitoring is reduction.
Making up over a quarter of human-caused methane emissions, the energy sector’s share of fugitive methane is dramatically underreported. The actual emissions are estimated to be 70% higher than official figures.
Globally, this results in fugitive methane costing the global energy sector up to an estimated $60 billion a year in revenue — and this is before factoring in the growing regulatory price tag in the US, EU, Japan and some developing countries.
In the U.S. alone, every 40 hours, 3 times a week, there’s a major pipeline gas leak reported. Studies estimate every 1.2 to 3.8 miles of pipeline, there’s a leak. And this is a conservative estimate. Less than 10% of gathering and transmission pipelines in the US are even inspected for leaks.
You can’t stop what you can’t accurately identify, measure and track over time.
High-frequency monitoring is the solution, and the impact is clear.
Research cited by both the EPA and the state of Colorado, for example, indicates that more frequent inspections of oil and gas facilities result in greater methane emissions reductions:
Monitoring is reduction:
Annual inspection = 40% reduction
Quarterly inspection = 60% reduction
Monthly inspection = 80% reduction
A 60%-80% reduction at any given facility results in recovered gas value savings, drastically decreased exposure to regulatory fines (such as the new methane tax in the US), increased carbon credit opportunities, and demonstrates a strong commitment to phasing out methane emissions and lowering the methane intensity of their operations.
So, where’s the hitch? What’s stopped the energy sector from taking robust action and implementing frequent monitoring systems?
In the 30 years since the world began negotiating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, international bodies, national governments and, importantly, the energy sector haven’t had the tools to identify exactly where, when and at what rate all that pollution is coming from.
Inspection teams, aerial imaging and drones are costly and limited by logistical obstacles.
Advanced satellite imagery has changed the game. With machine learning, multi-satellite imagery can be harnessed to detect and measure GHG emissions (e.g., methane) anywhere, anytime without investing in costly hardware solutions or ground teams.
The methane plumes and point sources autonomously detected by Momentick’s algorithms in multi-satellite imagery at high frequency present a golden opportunity for regulators, energy sector natural gas producers and contractors to regularly monitor assets anywhere, at any time.
It’s the fastest, most cost-effective way to fight global warming, harness regulatory opportunities and stop revenues from evaporating into the air.