Multi-scale Methane Measurements at Oil and Gas Facilities Reveal Necessary Framework for Improved Emissions Accounting



Methane mitigation from the oil and gas (O&G) sector represents a key near-term global climate action opportunity. The effectiveness of mitigation strategies rests on the ability to quantify spatially and temporally varying methane emissions more accurately than existing approaches. Advances in technologies have enabled improvements in methane emissions measurements and monitoring, In this work, we demonstrate a quantification, monitoring, reporting, and verification framework that pairs snapshot measurements with continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) to reconcile measurements with inventory estimates and account for intermittent emissions events. We find site-level emissions exhibit significant intra-day and daily emissions variation. Snapshot measurements of methane can span over three orders of magnitude and may have limited application in developing annualized inventory estimates. Consequently, while official inventories underestimate methane emissions on average, emissions at individual facilities can be lower than inventory estimates. Using CEMS, we characterize distributions of frequency and duration of intermittent emission events. Technologies that allow high sampling frequency such as CEMS, paired with a mechanistic understanding of facility-level events is key to accurate accounting of short-duration, episodic, and high-volume events that are often missed in snapshot surveys, and to scale snapshot measurements to annualized emissions estimates.


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