An agent-based model for estimating emissions reduction equivalence among leak detection and repair programs

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Thomas Fox, Mozhou Gao, Thomas Barchyn , Yorwearth L. Jamin, Chris Hugenholtz


Alternative leak detection and repair (alt-LDAR) programs are being introduced by regulators in North America to provide flexibility in how oil and gas producers manage their fugitive methane emissions. However, emissions reduction equivalence must be established between a proposed program and a regulatory standard. We present LDAR-Sim, an open-source, agent-based numerical model for estimating equivalence among LDAR programs and exploring specific LDAR scenarios. Novel advancements include the ability to: (1) set facility-specific LDAR requirements and deployment constraints, (2) simultaneously deploy multiple technologies, each with multiple intelligent agents, (3) integrate screening and close-range methods in a collaborative work practice, (4) consider unique environmental limitations of different technologies, (5) evaluate the impact of limited equipment and labour, and (6) explore the impact of legally vented emissions on screening technologies. We examine several alt-LDAR scenarios using real assets and discuss model confidence and sensitivity to inputs. We show that equivalence determinations depend on explicit definition of reference standards, including weather and labour availability. Screening method performance is vulnerable to the confounding presence of vented emissions and to criteria that trigger follow-up surveys. Relative mitigation of programs is highly sensitive to leak production and null repair rates, two elusive parameters used in previous studies.



Environmental Sciences, Oil, Gas, and Energy, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


emissions reduction equivalence, fugitive emissions, leak detection and repair, methane, oil and gas


Published: 2020-07-02 10:25

Last Updated: 2020-07-02 23:31

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GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1