Monitoring methane emissions from gas pipelines

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Emission hotspots detected round pure gas pipelines together with the Yamal-Europe and ‘Brotherhood’ pipelines. Credit: comprises modified Copernicus information (2020), processed by Kayrros

For the primary time, scientists, utilizing satellite tv for pc information from the Copernicus Sentinel missions, at the moment are in a position to detect particular person methane plumes leaking from pure gas pipelines across the globe.

Methane is likely one of the most potent greenhouse gases, second solely to carbon dioxide in its general contribution to local weather change. The vitality sector, together with oil, pure gas and coal, is likely one of the largest sources of methane emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), oil and gas operations worldwide emitted simply over 70 Mt of methane into the environment in 2020 alone.

Until not too long ago, the controversy surrounding methane emissions throughout pure gas transportation has been centered on faulty installations and gadgets leading to small, ‘fugitive’ or unintended emissions. Thanks to highly effective applied sciences, reminiscent of high-resolution satellite tv for pc information, scientists at the moment are in a position to underline the affect of frequent and intentional methane releases, also referred to as ‘venting.”

In 2020, Kayrros, a European expertise start-up, efficiently developed a tool to precisely detect particular person methane emissions from area. Now, the platform is getting used to trace common methane emissions alongside gas pipelines, for instance in Siberia, with emission charges of as much as 300 tons per hour recorded.

Monitoring methane emissions from gas pipelines
The pictures present methane hotspots over a gas pipeline in Kazakhstan detected by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission (left) and Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission (proper). Credit: comprises modified Copernicus information (2020), processed by Kayrros

By combining information from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P and Sentinel-2 missions, together with synthetic intelligence algorithms, Kayrros scientists detected 13 methane emission occasions, with charges as much as 164 tons per hour in 2019-2020, alongside the Yamal-Europe pipeline—a 4196 km pipeline operating throughout Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany.

Another 33 emission occasions, with charges as much as 291 tons per hour, have been detected over the identical interval on the shorter, Brotherhood pipeline. When contacted, operators confirmed that these occasions have been associated to deliberate upkeep and have been duly reported to the related authorities.

Remarkably, the variety of emission occasions detected by Kayrros elevated by 40% over Russia in 2020 from 2019, although the COVID-19 pandemic helped minimize Russian gas exports to Europe by an estimated 14%, in line with the IEA.

Monitoring methane emissions from gas pipelines
The picture on the left exhibits examples of huge methane concentrations in non-oil and gas producing areas within the US, doubtlessly because of pipeline upkeep. The picture on the best exhibits a map of pipelines in the identical area. Credit: comprises modified Copernicus information (2020), processed by Kayrros (left); U.S. Energy Information Administration (proper)

Over the identical interval, Kayrros additionally detected main methane releases within the US, from quite a few emissions related to shale oil manufacturing, in addition to in different international locations reminiscent of Kazakhstan.

Many methane emissions happen throughout transportation, as operators select to vent the gas throughout routine upkeep operations, which generally ends in a ‘double-cloud’ sample on Sentinel-5P pictures. These occasions, nevertheless, may simply and cost-effectively be averted through the use of various operational practices reminiscent of moveable flaring.

Antoine Rostand, President of Kayrros, mentioned, “The climate footprint of these operational practices is enormous because of the global warming potential of methane—84 times greater than carbon dioxide over 20 years. The venting observed by Kayrros along Russian pipelines in 2019 and 2020 released methane equivalent to approximately 3 Mt of carbon dioxide, which could have been avoided.”

Monitoring methane emissions from gas pipelines
Many methane emissions happen throughout transportation, as operators select to vent the gas throughout routine upkeep operations, which generally ends in a ‘double-cloud’ sample on Sentinel-5P pictures, reminiscent of this picture of Russia in July 2020. These occasions, nevertheless, may simply and cost-effectively be averted through the use of various operational practices reminiscent of moveable flaring. Credit: comprises modified Copernicus information (2020), processed by Kayrros

“We now have the technology to align with our ambitions. It’s time to use it.”

ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P Mission Manager, Claus Zehner, commented, “Kayrros’ use of Copernicus Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-5P images to detect methane hotspots is not only a major technical achievement but is hugely beneficial for the planet. It shows how cutting-edge innovation can leverage data from the Copernicus programs to deliver benefits beyond what could have been imagined when these programs were initially launched.”


Mapping methane emissions on a worldwide scale


Provided by
European Space Agency


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Monitoring methane emissions from gas pipelines (2021, March 4)
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