Day 4

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Paper title The use of TROPOMI for methane source identification in the oil and gas industry: the Permian Basin case study
  1. Raquel Serrano Calvo Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) Speaker
  2. Barbara Dix University of Colorado
  3. Joost de Gouw University of Colorado
  4. Pieternel Levelt National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
  5. Pepijn Veefkind KNMI
Form of presentation Poster
  • A1. Atmosphere
    • A1.04 Greenhouse Gases
Abstract text Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases (GHG), having 84 more times warming potential than carbon dioxide. According to the last IPCC AR6 report, a strong, rapid and sustained reduction of GHG emissions would limit the warming effect and improve air quality. The 20% of the global methane emissions come from the fossil fuel industry. These have a direct implication in the global warming equivalent to 0.1ºC out of the 0.5º C globally attributed to methane.
TROPOMI, the TROpospheric Monitoring Instrument on board of the Sentinel-5P, can play a key role in tackling methane emissions in the largest oil and gas producing region of the United States, the Permian basin.
During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, TROPOMI was able to capture the reduction of maximum values of methane tropospheric concentrations in the two most productive sub-basins (Delaware and Midland) and the increase of the minimum and average values in both. With the latest changes in the algorithm, the methane retrievals from TROPOMI have improved, not only spatially but also temporally, increasing the spatial coverage of the Permian basin on a daily basis.
In order to illustrate the implications of the new algorithm in the use of TROPOMI for methane emissions, different cases showing plumes in the Permian basin have been studied with the support of Sentinel-2. Using the ratio between bands 12 and 11 on the day of the detected plume and the median of the scene from one month before and one month after, it has been possible to compare the new methane retrievals obtained with TROPOMI versus the retrievals obtained with Sentinel-2. The use of Sentinel-2 in the Permian basin, which is a difficult area in terms of source identification due to the crowdedness of O&G facilities, has also returned a diverse list of false methane retrievals obtained with the band ratios of Sentinel-2.
The comparation of the different possible sources detected with Sentinel-2 and the retrievals of TROPOMI, show a spatial relationship with the sources identified over flare stacks, which do not light on the day of the detected plume but usually doing it. Other sources identified, e.g., flare stacks lighting on the day of the identified plume were also located on the same area or in the surroundings, but in less quantity.
The improvement of the methane algorithm on TROPOMI will play a crucial role in the development of cost efficient LDAR (Leak Detection And Repair) activities, reducing the area of source location, increasing the time response and reducing the methane release to the atmosphere.