Methane Emission, Detection, Monitoring and Remediation

The recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it abundantly clear that immediate action is required to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Methane (CH4) is the second most common greenhouse gas, accounting for approximately 20 percent of global emissions.

In the Oil & Gas industry, methane emissions are particularly hard to detect and localize. Identifying these emissions requires improved tracking and analysis that can effectively provide early detection and trigger interventions for priority remediation.

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Professor Alice Agogino at UC Berkeley and Squishy Robotics CEO is launching a study to  develop an innovative solution for increasing the number of methane inspections and the quality of recorded measurement data.

We are looking to interview innovators and experienced industry leaders to better understand the problems, challenges and pain points with current solutions. If you are interested in joining us in this study, please contact Professor Alice M. Agogino at agogino@berkley.edu.

Study Purpose and Objectives
Our goal is to develop an innovative solution for increasing the number of methane inspections and the quality of recorded measurement data. We aim to evaluate the potential for new strategies in optimal rapid placement of sensors, multimodal sensing strategies, multiagent collaboration, and data analytics.
Goals of the Study and Survey
Understand the key challenges and how they vary across markets, geography, and demographics (e.g., company size, industry, location, etc.).
Background and Context
The recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasizes that immediate action is required to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas, accounting for approximately 20 percent of global emissions.
Remaining Profitable and Globally Competitive
For Oil & Gas companies to stay economically competitive in worldwide markets, detecting and measuring methane emissions is critically important. Taking remedial repair action and quantifying emissions for environmental reporting are of paramount importance.
Methane Leaks Cost Money
The U.S. Oil and Gas Industry can make money by preventing methane waste, which is estimated to be more than $2 billion each year.
Challenges in Detecting Emissions
Emissions can be highly transient and often occur in remote locations (abandoned/underperforming wells, tank farms, gas compression sites, and pipelines). Many remote sites do not have full-time operators, increasing the risk that methane emissions will go unnoticed.
Challenges Identifying Leak Locations
Methane emissions may come from identifiable locations (e.g., tank vents, pneumatic controls) while unplanned emissions may occur at a diverse set of locations (e.g., leaks from piping, seals). Emissions can be highly transient and often occur in remote sites (e.g., abandoned/underperforming wells, tank farms, pipelines, and gas compression sites) that do not have on-site operators.
Challenges Using Typical Handheld Sensors
Methane emissions typically have low flow rates of pure methane that saturate commonly used handheld sensors if measured at the point of emission; methane emissions also quickly disperses in the air. Physically placing sensors in difficult-to-reach locations (e.g., top of large tanks) can also be dangerous for workers.
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