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    Neptune, EDF Work on Offshore Methane Tracking


They have selected a major UK gas field for the experiment.

by: William Powell

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Neptune, EDF Work on Offshore Methane Tracking

Neptune Energy and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are to start working together this summer on a "first-of-its-kind approach" to measure methane emissions from offshore oil and gas facilities, the privately-backed UK explorer said March 5.

They will start with the Neptune-operated Cygnus platform, producing gas from one of the largest gas fields in the UK Southern Basin, a dry gas province. 

EDF will co-ordinate a team of international researchers that includes Scientific Aviation, a provider of airborne emissions sensing, and Texo DSI, a UK-based drone platform provider, to evaluate advanced methods for quantifying facility-level offshore methane emissions, identify key sources and prioritise mitigation actions.

It will monitor the operations typical of a North Sea offshore facility including gas separation, drying and compression technology, and flaring and venting. Initial results are expected in October with a peer-reviewed publication of the results expected in 2022. 

Neptune said the company had "one of the lowest methane intensities in the sector, at 0.01%, compared with the industry average of 0.23%. But we want to go further and have set a target of net zero methane emissions by 2030. This study will help us identify where we need to take further action and how we can apply new measurement techniques across our global operated portfolio."

EDF said that "data transparency is paramount" and having "credible data is the first step." A key research objective for the European Union is to establish a reliable benchmark for assessing total oil and gas methane emissions in an offshore environment. 

The UK offshore community as a whole is aiming to achieve net zero carbon by 2035, according to the Oil & Gas UK's Roadmap 2035. But the scale of the problem is fairly small, with the sector accounting for 4% of the national total for emissions.

Methane emissions can also be measured from greater heights: Kayrros reported March 3 on the scale of leaks from pipelines running westwards from Russia, where routine venting releases hundreds of tons of methane/hour. They were detected by satellites, and processed using artificial intelligence. Kayrros is looking at other geographical regions and leakages too, including shale oil in the US.