• 3 minutes Oil Price Could Fall To $30 If Global Deal Not Extended
  • 8 minutes Why Is America (Texas) Burning Millions of Dollars Per Day Of Natural Gas?
  • 11 minutes Is $60/Bbl WTI still considered a break even for Shale Oil
  • 15 minutes CNN:America's oil boom will break more records this year. OPEC is stuck in retreat
  • 53 mins The Pope: "Climate change ... doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain."
  • 24 hours Hormuz and surrounding waters: Energy Threats to the World: Oil, LNG, shipping markets digest new risks after Strait of Hormuz attack
  • 1 day As Iran Nuclear Deal Flounders, France Turns To Saudi For Oil
  • 4 hours Middle East on brink: Oil tankers attacked off Oman
  • 23 hours The Magic and Wonders of US Shale Supply: Keeping energy price shock minimised: US oil supply keeping lid on prices despite global risks: IEA chief
  • 9 hours Russia removes special military forces from Venezuela . . . . Maduro gone by September ? . . . Oil starts to flow ? Think so . .
  • 1 day Never Knew Gasoline Prices were this important!
  • 14 hours Plants are Dying
  • 7 hours The Latest: Iranian FM Says US Cannot Expect To ‘Stay Safe’
  • 21 hours We Are Better Than This
  • 9 hours Emmissions up, renewables nowhere
  • 2 days Britain makes it almost 12 days with NO COAL
  • 2 days Middle East Attack Jolts Oil-Import Dependent Asia
Alt Text

Oil Flat Despite Middle East Tensions

Oil markets appear to have…

Alt Text

Putin’s $40 Oil Lie

Much has been made of…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Trending Discussions

New Methane Leak Detector Could Save Oil Industry $30 Billion Per Year

Laser-based detectors are the core of three recently publicized methane detection projects that aim to curb uncontrolled methane emissions at oil and gas fields and storage sites. The projects are part of the Methane Detectors Challenge, an initiative by the Environmental Defense Fund, which seeks to limit methane emissions responsible for a quarter of global warming.

Besides being a solid contributor to climate change, methane leaks also mean substantial losses for oil and gas field operators. In the U.S. alone, the losses are estimated by the EDF at US$2 billion annually. On a global level, the sum reaches US$30 billion that is lost through flaring and leaks. Leak monitoring and detecting is at best done from time to time. Now that the industry has been forced by the oil price crash to work hard on improving efficiency, the time is just right for the adoption of such technologies.

Statoil has become the first energy major to deploy a gas leak monitoring system, at a field in Eagle Ford. The solar-powered, laser-based system is in the testing phase now, aiming to ensure round-the-clock monitoring and detection. The system uses tunable laser diodes that were developed by a Colorado startup, Quanta3, which detect the release of methane in the air and send the data to an operator via the cloud.

Yet Statoil was not the first participant in the Methane Detectors Challenge to launch such a system. That was Pacific Gas & Electric, which last month deployed a tunable laser diode monitoring system at a gas storage facility in California. The company says that around 9.8 million metric tons of methane is emitted in the U.S. annually at all stages of the oil and gas supply chain. These are 9.8 million metric tons of gas that could be captured and used purposefully.

A third team taking part in the challenge that announced the launch of its monitoring system in the last few days is a partnership between three research institutions and an aircraft operator. The University of Colorado Boulder, the University of California Davis, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology joined forces with Scientific Aviation on developing their own methane leak monitoring system, again based on laser technology. Related: Saudis Raise March Crude Prices For All Customers

According to lead researcher Greg Rieker, the system, which can send laser beams over distances of up to one mile, can detect methane concentrations in the atmosphere with an accuracy rate of one part per billion. In addition to the ground equipment, the team will also use aircraft fitted with methane detection equipment to estimate the total emissions of the gas at production and storage sites.

All of these projects are at the testing stage, and according to the EDF, there are another 17 laser-based detection systems developed as part of the challenge. This is certainly a step in the right direction, especially given the current state of methane leak detection and reporting.

The EDF says that less than a third of oil and gas companies it reviewed report on methane emissions and none have emission reduction targets. The reason such targets are important, besides the financial losses, is that methane can compromise the status of natural gas as a bridge fuel: methane is the main component of natural gas, and it is a lot more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The good news: limiting leaks is cheap, at a penny per 1,000 cu ft of gas produced, says the EDF. So, with all the benefits of detecting and reducing leaks, most of them unintentional, chances are that we will continue to hear about such tech solutions, leveraging what modern technology can offer and using it to save money and cut harmful emissions.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • Lee James on February 04 2017 said:
    Kind of staggering when you see a total of 10 million metric tons U.S. of leaked methane - a quantity that industry seems to ignore and mostly not admit to ... so I hope the monitoring techniques can work out

Leave a comment





Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News