The Right Tool for the Job: Industry Advises Operators on Methane Detection Technology


Oct 25, 2023

Building a Framework – Industry Experts Describe Tools for Methane Detection

Detecting and quantifying methane emissions is a significant and growing challenge for the oil and gas industry. In response to this challenge, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) published a report outlining best practices for methane emissions detection and quantification. The aim of the report, and an accompanying online tool, is to educate oil and gas operators about the various tools in the methane detection landscape and help them pick the best tools for their unique circumstances.

The report, titled “Recommended Practices for Methane Emissions Detection and Quantification Technologies—Upstream,” describes the technology filtering tool and the various factors driving its recommendations. The report then gives guidance on how to select the most appropriate technologies, provides several examples of experiences operators have had with methane detection and quantification tools, and gives recommendations based on interviews and discussions with oil and gas industry experts.

Seek First – Detection a Critical Part of Stopping Emissions

Stopping methane emissions is one of the most effective ways for the oil and gas industry to help society meet climate change mitigation targets. Many parts of oil and gas production have the potential for methane emissions, ranging from leaks in pipelines and production equipment to gas emissions from stemming from downhole issues that manifest at the wellhead. However, operators first must find and characterize emissions before they can take steps to mitigate them.

There are many different ways to detect and quantify methane emissions ranging from satellite-based instruments to handheld sensors. There is no single technology that is right for every scenario though, and choosing which technology to use can be daunting. To address this, the report includes a technology filtering tool that can help guide producers in picking the right sensor, or combination of instruments, to meet their needs.

Twenty Questions – Finding the Right Tool for the Job

The technology filtering tool walks producers through a series of questions separated into four groups to determine which tools are most appropriate for their situation. The first step asks about the types of data needed and how the instrument will be deployed. For example, is the operator looking for a satellite-based solution or a handheld instrument. Questions in the second step ask about the conditions the tool will be used in, such as will it be used offshore, at night, or in areas with heavy precipitation. The third step determines what level the operator is interested in emissions. For example, do they need basin-level, site specific, or equipment-level measurements. Lastly the filtering tool gathers data on monitoring frequency and detection thresholds.

After answering the questions, the filtering tool presents the operator with a list of suitable technologies showing the provider and technology name, deployment method, and operating regions. From there, operators can click on the name of a technology in the list to get a detailed data sheet about the instrument.

On the Case – Examples and Recommendations

The report continues by highlighting several examples of methane detection tool choices operators have made and how the unique factors in each situation influenced those decisions. Additionally, the report gives expert recommendations on what factors to consider based on interviews and discussions with subject matter experts.

By describing the different factors involved in choosing which tools to use for methane detection, providing a filtering tool, and giving example scenarios and expert guidance, the report aims to help operators choose how best to meet their unique needs. Having a framework for making decisions on technology, especially in the face of growing innovation, will help operators determine how best to mitigate methane emissions. Whether operators need to replace aging equipment or seal micro-annuli in old wells using novel technology, having the right tool to find methane emissions is a crucial first step.

Next Step - Mitigation Technology Tool

Given the multitude of emerging technologies for methane mitigation, this same tool would translate well to helping operators with their next decision, how to eliminate the methane they’ve identified. Whether it be equipment upgrades, downhole tools, or materials for plugging and sealing wells, innovative technologies are abound.

One such technology for sealing channels and micro annuli that manifest as sustained casing pressure/surface casing vent flow is BioSqueeze®. BioSqueeze Inc. takes a holistic approach to dealing with SCP/SCVF, utilizing proprietary cement integrity evaluation software in conjunction with comprehensive analysis of well history and geology to provide job design complimentary to its novel biomineralization technology, delivering best in class results that maximize efficiency and minimize risk.

Have a well you'd like us to take a look at? Fill out the form below and our team will conduct a wholistic evaluation of the well and recommend next steps to eliminate the leak free of charge.
Your Name

Please enter your full name.

Please enter your email so we can get in touch.

Please enter your comments.