GRSG Conference 2020 Presentation

Title: Measuring Methane Emissions at Oil and Gas Facilities Using The Same Sensor on Aircraft And Satellite Platforms

Author: Jean-Francois Gauthier

GHGSat pioneered the use of high-resolution satellites to monitor methane emissions directly from oil and gas assets worldwide with its first satellite GHGSat-D in 2016. Following over three years of lessons learned, GHGSat is deploying in 2020 two additional second-generation satellites (GHGSat-C1 and C2) and an aircraft variant of the same sensor used on its satellites. The objective of this paper is to review the first results from these new instruments and their ability to quantify methane emissions. Next, the unique advantage offered by using the same instrument at two different altitudes will be presented.

GHSat uses spectrometry to make measurements of methane concentration in excess of background concentration remotely from either space or the air by analyzing the amount of light absorbed by the gas at very specific spectral frequencies unique to methane like a fingerprint is to humans.

Because no single solution can provide complete coverage of oil and gas facilities affordably, a combination of technologies and instruments working together in a tiered observation system is increasingly recognized by the industry as the most efficient and cost-effective way to monitor assets for gas leaks.

GHGSat is the first to combine the same sensor at different altitudes (500km and ~3Km) to operate within a tiered monitoring system. This provides unique advantages in combining the data, notably by eliminating the need for conversion and equivalency.

The paper will present some of the first measurements taken with our second satellite at oil and as sites around the world, showing evidence of methane emissions. GHGSat’s second-generation high-resolution satellites can address up to 70% of the total volume of methane emitted in the oil and gas industry in the US based on a 2016 study by Brandt.

Results from the aircraft sensor, including the comparison of the measurements to the volume of gas emitted from controlled releases will also be presented and discussed. GHGSat’s aircraft instrument can address up to 90% of the total volume of methane emitted in the oil and gas industry in the US-based on the same 2016 study by Brandt.

Finally, details of the combination of these two sensors working together will be introduced, including demonstrating how the two platforms can collaborate to perform cross-validation of results.

The conclusion is that the ability to use the same sensor in space and airborne provides unique advantages in providing the oil and gas industry with frequent, accurate, and affordable monitoring of as much of the total volume of gas emitted as possible, starting with finding the big leaks quickly.