Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with 1 tonne of methane being equal to 25 tonnes of CO2. Methane is potent, however has a short-lived effect compared to carbon dioxide therefore the sooner the reduction in the methane emissions the sooner the positive effect it has on the atmospheric potential. This is a major reason for the focus on methane venting sources across all industries. As oil & gas has a variety of methane sources as discussed in last week’s post, this creates challenges on how to reduce or eliminate these various sources using technologic improvements.
Typical Methane Emissions:
- DVG sources (Tank venting, casing gas venting)
- Pneumatic devices
- Compressor Seals
- Glycol Dehydrators
- Non-Routine Events (Wellsite blowdowns, ect.)
- Fugitive Emissions
The first step in developing a methane abatement strategy for your company, is to first have a reliable and robust inventory of these sources including the operational data points required to calculate overall volumetric quantifies. Field data collection projects such as the past BROA program to collect this type of inventory is paramount in order to use that data set to assess abatement strategies. Addressing any known non-compliance areas such as overall vent gas limits or device specific vent limits should be considered the first priority, however bundling in overall mitigation plans to cover any non-compliance and additionally to the requirements is always a great strategy as well.
There are almost an unlimited amount of technologies available today to mitigate methane sources, understanding the goals of implementing these is an important next step. Is the implementation to bring the assets into regulatory compliance, is it to generate offset credits, is it part of the companies overall ESG commitments, or is it for other reasons? Once this is understood the economics of technology options can then be reviewed as options for mitigation.
If its for being proactive and looking to generate offset credits, typically in the methane abatement area there are two primary offset protocols in the Alberta offset system to utilize:
- Quantification Protocol for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from Pneumatic Devices
- Quantification Protocol for Vent Gas Reduction
Many producers are already familiar with the Pneumatic protocol as they may have participated in projects to convert high bleed pneumatics to low bleed. Going forward the project types that can be utilized under this program are; Instrument Air Conversions, Device Electrification, and Vent Gas Capture projects. There are still lots of opportunities to utilize these project types to proactively reduce methane emissions, reduce valuable fuel gas usage and generate offset credits for years to come.
The newer but still not largely adopted by the industry is the Vent Gas Reduction Protocol. This protocol allows for conservation and vent gas destruction project types. Typical projects under conservation are vapour recovery units (VRU) to capture the vented gas from production storage tanks or well head casing gas. Vent gas destruction projects allow for the use of incinerators or combustors to be used to destruct previously vented gas. Conservation projects allow for a full crediting period of up to 8 years where the destruction projects, have a end date of September 2025. Destruction projects however typically come at a much lower capital cost so are well suited for lower volumes or where VRU systems aren’t as applicable.
Stay tuned for our future Methane Monday’s for information on how to manage these instruments going forward and mitigation solutions. In the meantime feel free to check out our services relating to emissions here: