Aerial Surveys Find Methane Super-Emitters In Texas, New Mexico
Around 30 oil and gas facilities across the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico spewed large amounts of methane for three years, emitting the equivalent annual climate pollution from half a million cars, according to a report released on Monday (Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Manila), Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: The report shows these large emission sources cut across a diverse range of infrastructure and oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin.
The facilities, which include well pads, pipelines, compressor stations and processing facilities, were observed as "persistently" emitting large volumes of methane over the three years of aerial surveys done by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and research group Carbon Mapper, a non-profit organization backed by philanthropists, including Michael Bloomberg, that uses technology to see and measure emissions at the scale of individual facilities.
The effort, an outgrowth of surveys NASA completed in California using methane-tracking planes, is meant to help polluting industries find and plug leaks.
The so-called "super-emitters," located in the most productive US oil field, only account for .001% of the Permian Basin's oil and gas infrastructure but emit around 100,000 tons of methane per year.
Repairing those leaks offers companies an immediate opportunity to help achieve US and international methane reduction targets and save around $26 million in escaped natural gas, the report said.
"The magnitude of emissions coming from a handful of methane sources in one of the top oil and gas producing regions illustrates the opportunity to make significant near-term progress toward the stated methane reduction goals of the U.S., other countries, and companies around the world," said Riley Duren, CEO of Carbon Mapper and a researcher at University of Arizona.
The report shows these large emission sources cut across a diverse range of infrastructure and oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin.