THE OIL & GAS METHANE FRAMEWORK
The Oil and Gas Methane Framework is a guide for tracking, managing, and reducing methane emissions from oil and gas facilities. Oil and gas facilities are responsible for approximately 25 percent of global emissions of methane and present a key opportunity for near-term emission reduction. Oil and gas methane emissions result from intentional activities, like gas venting and
flaring, and unintentional leaks from damaged or malfunctioning equipment. These emissions are largely avoidable through diligent monitoring and regulatory enforcement. Reducing oil and gas methane emissions benefits climate change mitigation, improves local air quality, and conserves valuable gas that companies can use onsite or sell.
OIL & GAS SECTOR RESOURCES
Lu Shen et al. (2022): Satellite quantification of oil and natural gas methane emissions in the US and Canada including contributions from individual basins, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
This study uses satellite methane observations from the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI),
From May 2018 to February 2020, to quantify methane emissions from individual oil and natural gas basins in the US and Canada. The results are largely consistent with field measurements.
Ocko et al. (2021): Acting Rapidly to Deploy Readily Available Methane Mitigation Measures by Sector Can Immediately Slow Global Warming, Environ. Res. Lett.
This paper analyzes the climate benefits of fast action to reduce methane emissions as compared to slower and delayed mitigation timelines.
Fugitive Emissions Abatement Simulation Toolkit
The FEAST toolkit evaluates the effectiveness of methane leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs at oil and gas facilities.
Varon et al. (2021): Satellite Discovery of Anomalously Large Methane Point Sources from Oil/Gas Production, Geophysical Research Letters
This paper used GHGSat-D satellite instruments to identify and quantify anomalously large point source emissions (10–43 ton per hour) from an oil and gas field in Central Asia. It suggests an approach of monitoring where instruments with global coverage and coarse spatial resolution identify methane hot spots, which are further quantified by instruments with finer spatial resolution.
Sun et al. (2021): Methane Emission Estimation of Oil and Gas Sector: A Review of Measurement Technologies, Data Analysis Methods and Uncertainty Estimation, Sustainability
This paper summarizes the methane emission measurement technology; the adaptability of technology and application scenarios; methods of calculating emission rate from methane concentration; and the method of analyzing uncertainty of methane emissions.
Aldhafeeri et al. (2020): A Review of Methane Gas Detection Sensors: Recent Developments and Future Perspectives, Inventions
This paper reviews optical sensors, calorimetric sensors, pyroelectric sensors, semiconducting metal oxide sensors, and electrochemical sensors for measurement of methane and discusses the cost and drawbacks of each.
Rashid et al. (2020): Optimized inspection of upstream oil and gas methane emissions using airborne LiDAR surveillance, Applied Energy
This study uses active laser scanning (also known as LiDAR or light detection ranging) sensors mounted to aircraft to inspect oil and gas facilities for emissions at high frequency and high sensitivity. The model suggests that screening facilities followed by inspection of high emitting facilities can be achieved for one-sixth the cost of traditional inspection methods.
Collier-Oxandale et al. (2018): Assessing a low-cost methane sensor quantification system for use in complex rural and urban environments, Atmos. Meas. Tech.
This paper reviews low-cost sensor quantification systems in the Colorado Front Range and an urban Los Angeles neighborhood. The Figaro TGS 2600 sensor was found to be the most effective when methane is quantified from raw signals.
Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (2022): Global Flaring and Venting Regulations: 28 Case Studies from Around the World AND Global Flaring and Venting Regulations: A Comparative Review of Policies, The World Bank
These documents present case studies and a comparative analysis of regulatory frameworks governing the flaring and venting of gas in 21 oil-producing countries, including fiscal incentives and disincentives, contractual arrangements, institutional governance, monitoring and enforcement practice, and public-private partnerships.
Omara et al. (2022): Methane emissions from US low production oil and natural gas well sites, Nature Communications
This study looks at emissions from 240 wells in the US and finds that they comprise a disproportionately large source of well site methane emissions, representing 37 to 75% of all well site emissions. The findings suggest that more state regulations are needed to ensure monitoring and mitigating flared gas at these sites.
Chavez et al. (2021): Project Canary Upstream Guide, Project Canary
This guide explains the concept of Responsibly Sourced Gas—natural gas that has undergone independent third-party certification that the molecules were produced under specified best practices for methane mitigation—and provides upstream oil and gas operators with strategies for reducing emissions from fossil fuels. The guide also explains the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) implications of verifying emissions data with the goal of creating market incentives for driving down methane emissions.
Calel et al. (2020): The unintended consequences of antiflaring policies—and measures for mitigation, PNAS
This article cautions against regulatory reforms to decrease flaring of gas and argues that this drives firms to vent methane instead, which makes it more challenging to identify sources and monitor emissions. It advocates for using gas infrastructure such as export terminals, compression facilities, reinjection wells, and pipeline networks to eliminate the need for venting or flaring.
Rabe et al. (2020): Taxing Flaring and the Politics of State Methane Release Policy, Review of Policy Research
This article reviews regulations on methane venting and flaring in different US states. Case studies on states that have implemented regulatory and taxation based controls, technical challenges in implementation and revenue uses from taxation are discussed
Tyner et al. (2018): A Techno-Economic Analysis of Methane Mitigation Potential from Reported Venting at Oil Production Sites in Alberta, Environmental Science & Technology
The study on 9,422 individual oil and heavy oil production sites in Canada finds that the proposed 45% cut in methane emissions from reported flaring and venting at upstream oil production sites could be achieved at near zero net cost per ton of CO2e, with some scenarios resulting in a net profit.
Fox et al. (2019): A review of close-range and screening technologies for mitigating fugitive methane emissions in upstream oil and gas, Environmental Research Letters
This review compares six technology classes for use in Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) to prevent fugitive methane emissions: handheld instruments, fixed sensors, mobile ground labs (MGLs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aircraft, and satellites. The paper describes a hybrid screening-confirmation approach to LDAR with a screening technology used to rapidly identify high-emitting sites to direct close-range source identification.
Kemp et al. (2010): New Technologies Can Cost Effectively Reduce Oil and Gas Methane Emissions, but Policies Will Require Careful Design to Establish Mitigation Equivalence, Environmental Science & Technology
This paper describes how to use the Fugitive Emissions Abatement Simulation Toolkit (FEAST) to evaluate different technological approaches to continuous monitoring and site- or equipment-level screening methods
Reducing Methane Emissions: Best Practice Guide – Equipment Leaks, Methane Guiding Principles
This report details best practices for reducing methane emissions from fugitive leaks, with guidelines on creating an inventory of emissions, conducting periodic leak detection and repair on all facilities above ground and pipelines and the importance of directed inspection and maintenance and comprehensive monitoring programs.
Leak Detection and Repair – A Best Practices Guide, United States Environmental Protection Agency
This report details the major elements of a leak detection and repair program (LDAR), mistakes made when monitoring leaks, problems that occur from improper management of an LDAR program, and best practices that can be used to implement an effective LDAR program.
Egler (2021): NOT WELL SPENT: A review of $1-billion federal funding to clean up Alberta’s inactive oil and gas wells, Oxfam
This report identifies issues with the Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) administered by the Government of Alberta, such as not prioritizing wells based on environmental risk, low Indigenous involvement in cleanups on
Indigenous lands, and low transparency. It outlines best practices for future projects with similar goals.
Raimi et al. (2021): Decommissioning Orphaned and Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells: New Estimates and Cost Drivers, Environmental Science and Technology
This study analyzes data from 19,500 wells in the US and finds median decommissioning costs to be approximately $20,000 for plugging and $76,000 for plugging and surface reclamation. The study also finds that contracting in bulk to decommission wells reduces per-well costs by more than 3% per well.
Raimi et al. (2020): Green Stimulus For Oil And Gas Workers: Considering A Major Federal Effort To Plug Orphaned And Abandoned Wells, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia
This report looks at the potential to boost US employment in the oil and gas workforce while reducing pollution through a federal program to plug orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells.
Beck et al. (2020): The future is now: How oil and gas companies can decarbonize, McKinsey & Company
This report presents a breakdown of emissions from different stages in the oil and gas production process and an overview of strategies that can be used to bring down both CO2 and methane emissions.
United Nations Environment Program: Oil and Gas Methane Partnership Technical Guidance
In a partnership between the UN Environment Program, the European Commission, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership provides resources to national and subnational actors looking to address emissions. The topics captured in Technical Guidance documents include leaks and permeation from underground pipes, gas well hydraulic fracturing, oil well casingheads, incomplete combustion, and unstabilized liquid storage tanks.
Kang et al. (2019): Reducing methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells: Strategies and costs, Energy Policy
This paper analyzes strategies and costs of five options for reducing methane emissions from high-emitting oil and gas wells – plugging without gas venting, plugging with gas venting and flaring, plugging with gas venting and usage, gas flaring only, and gas capture/usage only. It finds that the savings in natural gas prices and alternative energy credits can offset low plugging costs.
Kang et al. (2016): Identification and characterization of high methane-emitting abandoned oil and gas wells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
This study analyzes wells in Pennsylvania and finds that methane emissions from abandoned wells persist over the years and that high emitters appear to be unplugged gas wells and plugged/vented gas wells.
Ho et al. (2016): Plugging the Gaps in Inactive Well Policy, Resources for the Future
This report discusses the environmental and regulatory challenges of inactive wells. It covers definitions and classifications; a survey of inactive well regulations in 22 U.S. states and on public lands; and policy recommendations for bond amounts, regulations in transferring well responsibility and legislative controls.
Boothroyd et al. (2016): Fugitive emissions of methane from abandoned, decommissioned oil and gas wells, Science of The Total Environment
This study considers the fugitive emissions of methane from decommissioned oil and gas exploration and production wells in the UK. The well sites suggest a mean fugitive emission of 364 ± 677 kg CO2eq/well/year, with a chance that the well would behave as a methane sink. It suggests that the elevated methane levels could be the result of well integrity failure.
International Energy Agency: Driving Down Methane Leaks from the Oil and Gas Industry: A regulatory roadmap and toolkit
This report provides a guide for policymakers looking to develop new regulations to tackle oil and gas methane emissions within their jurisdictions. The Regulatory Roadmap focuses on the process of designing and drafting a new regulation. The Toolkit focuses on different regulatory approaches that are currently in use for methane, with appropriate links to specific examples.
Ayasse et al. (2022): Methane remote sensing and emission quantification of offshore shallow water oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, Environmental Research Letters
This study by Carbon Mapper surveys over 150 offshore platforms and surrounding infrastructure in US federal and state waters in the Gulf of Mexico. It finds that CH4 emissions from many of these platforms exhibit super emitter behavior (emitting over 10 kg of methane per hour).
Agerton et al. (2022): Considering A Federal Program To Permanently Plug And Abandon Offshore Oil And Gas Wells, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia
This report examines offshore plugging and abandonment liabilities to provide guidance to federal policy makers for establishing plugging and abandonment programs for offshore wells. It outlines three main goals: 1) reducing taxpayers’ future financial liability for orphan wells, 2) reducing environmental risk, and 3) preserving or increasing employment alongside goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
R Barbosa et al. (2019): Multicriteria analysis of methane mitigation options on offshore oil and gas production platforms, Journal of Physics
This study evaluates six different mitigation options for offshore oil and gas in three platforms managed by Petrobas. It finds that vapor recovery of storage tanks with gas reuse had the greatest impact on emissions among these options.
Bylin et al. (2010): Designing the Ideal Offshore Platform Methane Mitigation Strategy
This paper analyzed different technologies for offshore methane mitigation. The results indicated that up to 85% of a platform’s methane emissions can be reduced cost-effectively through replacement of centrifugal compressor wet seals with dry seals; routing vent sources such as storage tanks, dehydrators, and pig launcher to a vapor recovery system; and implementing a directed inspection and maintenance program to target fugitive emissions.
OIL & GAS RESOURCES – Baseline & Monitoring Strategies
OIL & GAS RESOURCES – Midstream & Downstream Emission Strategies
OIL & GAS RESOURCES – Off-Shore Oil & Gas Strategies
OIL & GAS RESOURCES – Orphaned & Abandoned wells
OIL & GAS RESOURCES – Upstream Oil & Gas Emission Strategies