Global Assessment of Oil and Gas Methane Ultra-Emitters

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 1 of this Preprint.

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Thomas Lauvaux , Clément Giron, Matthieu Mazzolini, Alexandre d'Aspremont, Riley Duren, Daniel Cusworth , Drew Shindell, Philippe Ciais


Methane emissions from oil and gas (O&G) production and transmission represent a significant contribution to climate change. These emissions comprise sporadic releases of large amounts of methane during maintenance operations or equipment failures not accounted for in current inventory estimates. We collected and analyzed hundreds of very large releases from atmospheric methane images sampled by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) over 2019 and 2020 to quantify emissions from O&G ultra-emitters. Ultra-emitters are primarily detected over the largest O&G basins of the world, following a power-law relationship with noticeable variations across countries but similar regression slopes. With a total contribution equivalent to 8-12% (~8 MtCH4/yr) of the global O&G production methane emissions, mitigation of ultra-emitters is largely achievable at low costs and would lead to robust net benefits in billions of US dollars for the six major producing countries when incorporating recent estimates of societal costs of methane.



Atmospheric Sciences, Oil, Gas, and Energy


methane, TROPOMI, plume


Published: 2021-05-07 07:39

Last Updated: 2021-05-07 14:39


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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