Extension of Methane Emission Rate Distribution for Permian Basin Oil and Gas Production Infrastructure by Aerial LiDAR

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.3c00229. This is version 4 of this Preprint.


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William Kunkel , Michael Thorpe, Asa Carre-Burritt, Grant Aivazian, Nicholas Snow, Jacob Harris, Tagert Mueller, Peter Roos


Aerial LiDAR measurements at 7474 oil and gas production facilities in the Permian Basin yield a measured methane emission rate distribution extending to the detection sensitivity of the method, 2 kg/h at 90% probability of detection. Emissions are found at 38.3% of facilities scanned, a significantly higher proportion than reported in lower-sensitivity campaigns. LiDAR measurements are analyzed in combination with measurements of the heavy tail portion of the distribution (>600 kg/h) obtained from an airborne solar infrared imaging spectrometry campaign by Carbon Mapper (CM). A joint distribution is found by fitting the aligned LiDAR and CM data. By comparing the aerial samples to the joint distribution, the practical detection sensitivity of the CM 2019 campaign is found to be 280 kg/h [256, 309] (95% confidence) at 50% probability of detection for facility-sized emission sources. With respect to the joint model distribution and its confidence interval, the LiDAR campaign is found to have measured 103.6% [93.5%, 114.2%] of the total emission rate predicted by the model for equipment-sized emission sources (~2 m diameter) with emission rates above 3 kg/h, whereas the CM 2019 campaign is found to have measured 39.7% [34.6%, 45.1%] of the same quantity for facility-sized sources (150 m diameter) above 10 kg/h. The analysis is repeated with data from CM 2020-21 campaigns with similar results. The combined distributions represent a more comprehensive view of the emission rate distribution in the survey area, revealing the significance of previously underreported emission sources at rates below the detection sensitivity of some emissions monitoring campaigns.




Environmental Monitoring, Oil, Gas, and Energy


Natural gas, CH4, remote sensing, emissions monitoring, sensitivity, detection, aggregation


Published: 2023-01-10 22:47

Last Updated: 2023-07-11 18:36

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Conflict of interest statement:
Bridger Photonics, Inc. operates Gas Mapping LiDAR as a commercial product.

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Data sets will be made available with the peer reviewed journal (ES&T) at time of publication..

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