EDF will coordinate a team of researchers includes airborne emissions sensing specialist Scientific Aviation, and drone platform provider Texo DSI.
They will assess methods for quantifying facility-level offshore methane emissions, identify sources, and determined mitigation actions.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas. Emissions have to be reduced from offshore production to help countries meet the Paris Agreement climate goals.
For this program, drone, aircraft and methane sensing technologies will be deployed on Neptune’s Cygnus gas platform in the UK southern North Sea.
These will provide a close-up view of operations on a typical North Sea installation, i.e. gas separation, drying and compression, flaring and venting.
Investment firm The Carlyle Group, also a shareholder in Neptune, is supporting and monitoring the campaign.
The study is due to commence this July with initial results expected in October. The outcomes will be published in a scientific peer-reviewed paper in 2022.
Pete Jones, Neptune’s vp Operations Europe, said his company “already has one of the lowest methane intensities in the sector, at 0.01%, compared with the industry average of 0.23%. But we want to go further and have set a target of net zero methane emissions by 2030.
“This study will help us identify where we need to take further action and how we can apply new measurement techniques across our global operated portfolio.”
Mark Brownstein, EDF’s svp for Energy, added: “Oil and gas companies have made commitments to tackle emissions, but you can’t just assert strong environmental performance. You must show it.”
Last October, the European Commission introduced measures that could lead to oil and gas methane regulation in the EU, including a potential performance standard for gas used or sold in the EU, the world’s largest natural gas importer.
One research goal is to establish a reliable benchmark for assessing total oil and gas methane emissions in an offshore environment.
According to Neptune, official inventories often underestimate overall emissions because reports are based on desktop calculations vs empirical data.
The company is a member of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) and a signatory to OGMP’s new 2.0 framework, which aims to improve the reporting accuracy and transparency of methane emissions.