Going, going, … green

Carbon footprint: McDermott launches ArborXD, Civitas to plug Colorado wells, Orcadian, OGA, Ørsted, Neptune electrify UK offshore, OGA benchmark, BPEP backs Onboard Dynamics, ESG in the oilfield. Methane emissions: LongPath expands Basin-SCAN, Kuva Systems methane detection, PTAC’s methane mitigation, EPA disburses SBIR cash, ExxonMobil deploys Scepter satellite, STDC backs Validere/Clearstone, Sustainable LNG shipping, IEA reports on methane. Neptune, EDF trial drone-based monitoring. CCS: NPD’s 25 years of CCS. DNV/Equinor CFD for CCS, SADAR CCS seismics trials, Eosys and Geological Net Zero

First a note on our ‘Going green’ reporting. This rubric has now grown to become unmanageable. In preparing this issue we have accumulated over 60 news items of potential relevance. From now on we will try to focus on new, tangible activity and solutions in the ESG, CO2 and other emissions reduction space. We will no longer be covering forward-looking statements and claims for ‘net zero’ goals, however laudable these may be.

Carbon footprint

McDermott International’s ArborXD is a web-based tool for data collection, estimation and reporting on the potential carbon impact of energy prior to construction and reduce the operating footprint of a facility. More from McDermott.

Civitas Resources, a ‘carbon-neutral oil and natural gas producer’ has volunteered to plug wells orphaned by their previous operators throughout the Front Range of Northern Colorado. The work will be monitored by Project Canary, a Denver-based climate technology company which will provide before and after monitoring and TrustWell certification of all 42 wells. Once P&A is completed, devices will remain on-site to monitor any residual fugitive emissions.

A group led by Orcadian Energy has been awarded £466,667 by the UK Oil & Gas Authority to fund development of its concept for the electrification of offshore installations in the central North Sea, part of a £1 million decarbonization competition that was run jointly by OGA and BEIS as part of the March 2021 North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD). More from OGA.

The UK Oil & Gas Authority’s inaugural emissions monitoring report finds that a ‘laser focus’ will be required to achieve key targets. The new annual report is part of the OGA’s efforts to monitor, benchmark and hold industry to account, in support of the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050. The report is to help to chart progress in delivering commitments made in NSTD. Initial findings are that the UK upstream oil and gas industry ‘must go much further and faster in its drive to cut emissions’. ‘Falling short isn’t an option if the sector wants to retain its social license to operate.’ More from OGA.

OGA is also advocating the electrification of offshore oil and gas installations as a component of the NSTD. Power generation accounts for around two thirds of oil and gas production emissions. Using electricity from the shore or a nearby windfarm could lead to a 2-3Mtpa CO2 emissions reduction. The project is a collaboration between Ørsted and Neptune Energy which are working to electrify offshore productions and support an integrated energy system that includes offshore low-carbon hydrogen production. The UN Goal7 organization is backing the project.

Onboard Dynamics has signed an ‘investment agreement’ with BP Energy Partners, a Dallas-based private equity firm. The equity investment is to allow Onboard Dynamics to scale its products and service offerings. Onboard Dynamics’ products allow customers to conduct best practices during natural gas pipeline operations, recovery of stranded natural gas from various sources, and natural gas vehicle fleet refueling. OD’s flagship is the GoVAC Flex pipeline evacuation system that mitigates methane emissions during pipeline maintenance, repair and replacement. More from Onboard Dynamics and BPEP.

The US Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure has released a report, ESG in the Oilfield, showing how the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) approach in the oil and gas industry can give companies a framework for improving data collection and material investment. The report addresses the ‘often-overlooked impact’ of produced water spills. Produced water incident rates and spill volumes ‘regularly surpass the volumes of marketable oil and gas’. AfII found that ‘equipment or material factors are the cause of nearly 80% of spills’. The study sets out to provide ‘transparent and accessible data to help identify and address such risks’.

Methane emissions

LongPath Technologies is expanding its Basin-SCAN methane monitoring service across the Permian Basin. As of January 2022, ten centralized laser nodes were operating within the Permian, each monitoring dozens of well sites, tank batteries, and compressor stations by interacting with non-intrusive retroreflective mirrors installed within production infrastructure. LongPath received a $5 million Department of Energy award in 2021 under the ARPA-E ‘Seeding critical advances for leading energy technologies with untapped potential’ (SCALEUP) program. More from LongPath.

Kuva Systems reports key performance milestones achieved in blind tests of its continuous optical gas imaging camera. Kuva cameras demonstrated reliable methane detection of emissions from oilfield equipment at all heights with no false detections in blind testing at Colorado State University’s Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center. METEC was developed in 2016, again with funding from ARPA-E. The tests were conducted under METEC’s Advancing Development of Emissions Detection continuous monitoring protocol, also funded by the DoE.

A new, 36 page report, ‘PTAC Methane Detection and Mitigation Initiatives’ from Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada covers a decade of Canadian methane emissions reduction efforts and technology tests. PTAC consortia pay up to 75% of the cost of equipment and installation of cost-effective methane mitigation technologies with over 100 deployments to date. The report includes an appendix of ‘technology descriptions’ covering some 20 commercial offerings in the environmental technology space.

Beneficiaries of the US EPA’s $3 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program that funds small businesses developing novel technologies to address environmental and public health problems include Physical Sciences (laser technology for continuous quantitative methane emission monitoring of oil and gas storage tanks), Spectral Sensor Solutions (spatial monitoring of methane emissions over large areas) and InferLink (software system for automated, systematic reviews of the scientific literature on chemical risks). More on SBIR from the EPA.

ExxonMobil is to deploy Scepter Inc’s advanced satellite technology and proprietary data processing platforms to detect methane emissions at a global scale. Initial focus is ExxonMobil operations in the Permian Basin. Scepter is to launch its first satellites in 2023, with a constellation of 24 satellites planned for 2026. ExxonMobil and Scepter are working on a proprietary data fusion system to reconcile information collected from multiple detection methods, including ground-based stationary and mobile monitoring devices. More from Scepter.

Validere and partners Xpansiv and Clearstone Engineering have received $1.2 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to accelerate the development of technology that supports the low emissions gas market in Canada and globally. Validere captures emissions data that is processed by Clearstone. Xpansiv maintains a registry of emissions datasets to ‘remove the risk of double counting and ensure transparency for buyers’

Chevron, Qatar Gas and Pavilion Energy have just released a 112 page study, ‘The SGE Methodology’ to calculate the GHG impact of delivered LNG Cargoes. The methodology promises a ‘a consistent approach to GHG emissions calculations throughout the LNG value chain, allowing for independent verification and reporting transparency’. The approach is said to align with the GHG Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard and ISO14064:2018. Environmental Resources Management helped author the report.

A new report from the International Energy Agency finds that methane is responsible for around 30% of the global rise in temperatures to date. Rapid steps to tackle methane emissions from oil, gas and coal operations would have immediate impacts because of the potent effect of methane on global warming and the large scope for cost-effective actions, according to the report, ‘Curtailing methane emissions from fossil fuel operations’: Pathways to a 75% cut by 2030.

Neptune Energy and the Environmental Defense Fund have complete a trial of drone-based measurement of methane emissions on a working UK offshore platform. Fixed wing and rotary drones equipped with methane-sensing equipment were deployed on the Neptune-operated Cygnus gas production platform. UK-based drone platform provider, Texo DSI, operated a rotary drone provided by Scientific Aviation. In parallel, an unmanned fixed-wing drone operated by Flylogix carrying methane measurement technology provided by SeekOps was flown from Weybourne Airfield in Norfolk to the Cygnus platform. The results are to be published in a ‘scientific peer-reviewed paper’ in 2022. More from Neptune Energy, Flylogix and SeekOps.


Speaking at an EU-Norway Energy Conference in Brussels recently, Ingrid Sølvberg DG of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported on Norway’s 25 years’ experience with ‘safe and secure CO2 storage’. 50 years of oil and gas activity on the Norwegian shelf has yielded ‘exceptional insight’ into the subsurface that informs CCS activity. CO2 has been injected on the Norwegian shelf for 25 years, and this is subject to strict monitoring. On Snøhvit in the Barents Sea, this means continuous in-well monitoring. On Sleipner in the North Sea, 4D seismic mapping shows that there is capacity to store as much as 80 billion tonnes of CO2 on the shelf, the equivalent of 1,000 years of Norwegian emissions! More from NPD.

DNV and Equinor have partnered on the development of KFX CO2 computational fluid dynamics simulation software to increase safety in carbon capture and storage. KFX promises ‘reliable consequence models for safety assessments, design of barriers and documentation of safe CCS design’. The tool can simulate what actually happens if accidents occur and is used for mitigation in the event of a release. Equinor has partnered with DNV for the next three years for the further development of KFX CO2. The KFX CFD toolset was originally co-developed by Equinor and Norway’s ComputIT. DNV acquired the company in 2017.

Geospace Technologies and subsidiaries Quantum Technology Sciences and Geospace Technologies Canada have kicked-off a joint industry partnership with Carbon Management Canada to develop carbon storage monitoring technologies. The solution will build on Sadar, a seismic acoustic detection and ranging technology originally developed by Quantum for security and surveillance applications. The solution will be tested at CMC’s 200-hectare field research station. More from Geospace and CMC.

Concomitant with last year’s COP 26, Patrick Portolano (Eosys) has proposed a ‘Geological Net Zero’ solution for global warming and greenhouse gas mitigation. This involves a ‘simple and globally effective international agreement on fossil carbon’ whereby for each quantity of fossil carbon extracted, the same quantity of carbon must be geologically sequestered in the same year. GNZ needs to be activated ‘as soon as possible’ and supervised by a ‘supranational entity’. That shouldn’t be too hard!

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