Evaluating the benefits of alternative leak detection programs

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Martin Lavoie, David Risk, Elizabeth O'Connell, Emmaline Atherton, Jan Gorski, Jack Johnson


New technologies have the potential to reduce the cost of leak detection and repair (LDAR) for producers of all sizes through smart LDAR program design, the right combination of technologies, and by collaboration between producers within the same geographic area. This potential was examined in an extensive study by conducting multiple simulations using the Arolytics AROfemp model to evaluate the impact of alternative technologies on the cost and effectiveness of LDAR. In this study, AROfemp simulated 418 LDAR programs, each with 1500 Monte Carlo simulations to account for the random nature of methane leaks. Each simulation incorporated asset information of real producers in Alberta different combinations of methane detection technologies (truck, airplane, and drone), various survey timings, and different thresholds for triggering follow-up surveys with a gas imaging camera for leak localization before repair. Our results showed that alternative monitoring programs can reduce the cost of finding methane leaks compared to traditional LDAR programs. This is valid both for companies acting on their own and those collaborating to conduct alternative LDAR programs together. Cost reductions for alternative LDAR programs can, in some cases, exceed 50%. However, results were strongly impacted by the choice of technology, facility type, as well as program design and logistics. For multi-producer collaborations, the logistics of follow-up surveys are important since alternative technology surveys can be much faster than traditional ground-based camera surveys. To avoid delays in leak localization and subsequent leak repairs, enough ground crews must be available and deployed in a timely manner. Alternative LDAR has the potential to reduce costs and/or achieve deeper methane emission reductions for all producers but is not a one-size fits all solution, and programs that are successful for one producer cannot necessarily be replicated for others. Collaboration between small producers has the potential to address these barriers.




Oil, Gas, and Energy


Methane emissions, Alternative Programs


Published: 2021-05-15 13:29

Last Updated: 2021-05-18 10:18

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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