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Measuring and Detecting Emissions

The natural gas and oil industry continues to evaluate and deploy monitoring, detection, and measurement technologies and techniques to expand its methane-detection and reduction capabilities with the goal of proactively finding and fixing methane emissions.


Methane Emissions Measurement and Monitoring Technologies

API member companies are driving innovation across emissions-monitoring technologies to identify the best detection methods to find emissions, determine the root cause and make appropriate repairs.

The variety of emissions monitoring solutions is vast, and the right option can vary across sectors with different types of assets. Detection methods use different technologies such as laser absorption spectroscopy, optical gas imaging or sensors. And they can be deployed by ground through instruments and sensors, by air through drones and airplanes, or by space through satellites. Natural gas and oil companies evaluate the benefits and limitations of each technology against their specific monitoring objectives – assessing each technology’s scalability for operations as well as the type of results the technology provides.

Many methane emissions detection technologies are still in a nascent pilot phase, but the natural gas and oil industry is instrumental in their development, collaborating with leading research institutions and private sector technology providers, and investing directly in beneficial technologies.


Advancing Methane Detection and Reduction Capabilities through The Environmental Partnership

The Environmental Partnership is working diligently to expand the industry’s knowledge of the sources and extent of methane emissions and to drive advancements in technologies and strategies for detection and methane reduction.

  • Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) Performance Program: The production and transportation of natural gas requires miles of pipelines and significant numbers of valves, flanges, and welded connections. While the industry devotes significant resources toward methane reductions, some leaks can be difficult to detect. Through the LDAR program, companies have implemented detection and monitoring plans that resulted in a 0.05% leak occurrence rate (or less) across more than 345 million components at 90,000 sites, according to data from 2021. Efforts to detect leaks are expanding to include aerial surveys and satellites.
  • Collaboration with METEC: The Partnership also supports research on emissions-reducing technologies through grants to Colorado State University’s Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center (METEC) facility. METEC has been a critical partner in helping the industry to collaborate on the best ways to reduce emissions. At METEC, researchers recreate conditions producers face in their operations and are testing numerous cutting-edge methane sensing technologies.

The Partnership’s grants enabled METEC to conduct research on Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras to understand how to optimize the use of these cameras under a variety of different conditions. In 2020, METEC published a report on this promising technology.

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