Methane, the primary component in natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change as it enters the atmosphere. Methane is particularly concerning as its global warming potential is 25 times that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Not only is this rise in methane emissions detrimental to the environment, but a 2015 report by the Rhodium Group estimates approximately $30B a year is lost in methane escaping at various stages across the energy supply chain from production through to distribution. The Global Methane Initiative1 (GMI) estimates that emissions from the oil and gas industry account for 24% of total global methane emissions resulting from human activities.
While the oil and gas sector accounts for a significant portion of global methane emissions, according to the GMI it also represents the greatest near-term opportunity in reducing global methane emissions, with an emission reduction potential of 35% resulting from no-cost activities.
Government regulation surrounding methane emissions has increased significantly and many leaders within the oil and gas industry have committed themselves to plans to reduce emissions in the coming years. Due to this increased regulation and commitment to reducing emissions, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to be diligent in their operations and employ maintenance practices such as leak monitoring and inspection programs.
Intelligent and cost-effective solutions can help operators reduce costly losses and greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. PureHM’s modern leak detection system, a component of the Spectrum XLI platform, records the position and instrumentation readings for an entire leak survey. A continuous survey log is recorded and can be audited to verify survey parameters such as GPS coordinates, pipeline locator readings, methane concentration as well as environmental factors such as temperature and elevation.
The Spectrum XLI platform has been designed to conduct multiple tests and inspections simultaneously, meaning a leak detection survey can be completed in conjunction with depth of cover, GIS, cathodic protection and coating condition surveys, among others. This level of information contributes to the quality and completeness of inspection data and increases the cost-effectiveness of the survey.
Inline inspection tools can also be used to detect small gas leaks in pipelines that are difficult to access with remote sensing or above-ground inspection techniques.
Reduction of methane emissions can be cost-effective and provide a host of energy, safety, water and air quality benefits on top of helping to mitigate global warming. Taking a proactive approach to reducing methane emissions allows those operating within the oil and gas industry to realize these benefits while positively contributing to the initiatives set by various government and industry bodies with the goal of reducing global methane emissions.
Contact us to learn more about how PureHM’s solutions can help keep pipelines safe and protect the environment from harmful methane leaks.
 The GMI is an international public-private initiative that advances cost-effective, near-term methane abatement and recovery and use of methane as a clean energy source in several key sectors