TotalEnergies targets methane emissions at US Barnett field
France's TotalEnergies announced on October 11 it was deploying a technology developed by Utah-based Qnergy to reduce methane emissions at the Barnett gas field in the US Permian basin.
Qnergy's technology converts methane-powered instrumentation at pneumatic devices to use compressed air instead, eliminating the escape of methane into the atmosphere, TotalEnergies said. Following a pilot project in March, the French major said Qnergy's solution "proved to be reliable, simple to install and easy to operate," reducing methane venting emissions from gas instruments by up to 98%.
After additional tests, TotalEnergies has opted to deploy 100 of the compressed air-powered instruments at the Barnett field this year and next. Adding a further 300 units will reduce methane emissions from pneumatic devices by around 7,000 metric tons/year by the end of 2024, the company said.
"To fully play its role in the energy transition, notably as a substitute for coal, the integrated natural gas chain must limit its methane emissions as much as possible," TotalEnergies' senior vice president for sustainability, Carole Le Gall, commented. "We have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of Qnergy’s technology on the Barnett field. By immediately deploying this technology on our US onshore operations, we are actively demonstrating our commitment to reducing our own methane emissions by 20% between 2020 and 2025."
Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, and the natural gas industry is under intense scrutiny to address emissions. The International Energy Agency estimates that more than three quarters of emissions from oil and gas operations come from the upstream sector.
TotalEnergies estimates it has cut its methane emissions by almost 50% since 2010, achieving a methane emissions intensity at its operated gas facilities of less than 0.1% in 2020. It aims to deliver a further 20% reduction in absolute emissions from operated assets by 2025. The company is also a signatory of the Methane Guiding Principles, an initiative aimed at eliminating oil and gas methane emissions.
The French major is also a founding member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, which manages a $1bn fund that invests in technologies and innovations that make oil and gas cleaner to produce. The fund has provided support to Qnergy.
TotalEnergies operates 2,800 wells in the Barnett play, which flowed 62,000 barrels of oil equivalent/day in 2019, according to the company’s website.