Satellite to Tame Oil’s Methane Emissions

The release of methane emissions from drilling has been a ongoing problem for the oil and gas industry, but recent satellite data commissioned by the European Union leans closer to a solution. Experts at the European Union’s Copernicus satellite observation program believe they have discovered an effective method of communicating with oil and gas companies about where exactly where methane leaks are  occurring, and how they can best invest and mitigate these issues. 

At the Sustainable Energy Week summit in Brussels, experts from the Earth Observation program joined together with energy sector professionals to discuss the new data available through Copernicus for the monitoring and forecasting of methane emissions. Elisabeth Hambouch, Deputy Head of the Copernicus unit at the European Commission, said, “The program is just an information tool, it’s up to the policy-makers how they’re going to use it."

One of the difficulties for companies in detecting methane releases is that wind can quickly travel to another area, making it difficult to establish where the methane originated. The satellite observation tools available through Copernicus make it possible to pinpoint where the leak came from, so that companies can spend more time on fixing the issue(s). 

The European Union already has strategies in place to tackle methane emissions from waste. However, reducing the amount of methane emitted by accident in the oil and gas extraction process would be extremely beneficial for both companies and the plant alike. 

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