Ways for decarbonizing operations of oil & gas companies
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept.23
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Many oil and gas companies are prioritizing measures to minimize emissions from core oil and gas operations, Trend reports citing Germany-based DNV GL.
“As of today, 15 percent of global energyrelated GHG emissions comes from the process of getting oil and gas out of the ground and to consumers.15 In the short term, reducing methane leaks is an essential way for the industry to bring down GHG emissions. Coincidentally, because methane has a market value, it is often cost effective to implement measures to reduce or eliminate methane leaks and fugitive emissions. There are also ample, cost-effective opportunities to bring down the emissions intensity of delivered oil and gas by minimizing flaring of associated gas and venting of CO2. Integrating renewables and low-carbon electricity into new upstream and liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments also provides a path to reducing emissions from oil and gas production.
There are some ways that oil and gas companies are decarbonizing their operations.
Around 5 percent of offshore wellhead production globally is used to power platforms, according to a 2019 study published by Wood Mackenzie.16 Based on our modelling of natural gas production, this resulted in 124 MtCO2 emissions in 2018. As the cost of variable renewables rapidly declines, upstream oil and gas operators are turning to hydrocarbon and renewable technology integration as an emissions-free alternative. A report published by the UK Oil & Gas Authority in 2019 concludes that technology for platform electrification is proven and could enable nearterm emissions reductions for the industry.17 There are commercial benefits as well. Hydrocarbons not used to power production can be taken to market.
REDUCING FLARING AND VENTING
The oil and gas industry emitted more than 81 MtCO2e of methane in 2019, according to estimates from the 2020 Methane Tracker, run by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Of this, 68 percent was from venting; 28 percent from fugitive losses; and 4 percent from incomplete flaring. Natural gas that is not flared can leak into the atmosphere as methane, a more potent GHG than CO2.
METHANE LEAK DETECTION
Significant improvements in satellite technology are now revealing new methane leak hotspots around the world, not just from venting during production but from compressor stations during transportation. In 2019, methane leaks from the oil and gas industry were detected for the first time by satellites according to Canadian company GHGSat, which reported detecting an “anomalously large methane plume” from a gas facility and pipeline near a mud volcano it was monitoring in Turkmenistan. The leak was plugged after the operator was notified. GHGSat claims this is the equivalent of taking a million cars off the road. Later in the year, European Space Agency satellites revealed significant methane leaks from a pipeline transporting gas from Russia to Europe.
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