Flylogix has worked with six major energy companies to measure methane emissions in the North Sea. In the 4th of a series of case studies, Robert Jones, Senior Environmental Advisor at TAQA UK, gives his perspective on this pioneering project and explains how working in partnership with Flylogix, SeekOps, the Net Zero Technology Centre and other operators has created a blueprint towards meeting the Global Methane Pledge.
Flylogix and TAQA: getting the measure of methane
Measuring methane emissions from offshore assets has, until now, been difficult, expensive, unreliable and – in itself – a source of high carbon emissions, depending as it often does on manned vehicle flights.
Chris Adams of Flylogix says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure. To effectively manage and reduce emissions, you need a detailed and reliable picture of what is happening.”
The advent of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) opened up the possibility of measuring methane emissions with minimal disruption to the asset and with minimal personnel, at offshore facilities.
Generally, methane emissions from sources such as fugitives, combustion and flaring have been measured by ‘bottom-up’ calculations and estimations. This system means emissions can also be measured from the ‘top down’ for a more precise picture.
Robert Jones, Senior Environmental Advisor, TAQA UK
“For us this project was around measuring emissions and helping our net zero alignment.”
“Previously, we had to depend on estimates. So, one of our objectives was to have accurately measured emissions data, which provides the start point for setting an improvement plan or target.”
“As well as the potential to provide that robust data, the Flylogix and SeekOps technology has other benefits, such as reduced disruption to operations, less mobilization of personnel and a reduced carbon footprint compared to helicopter operations.”
“The success of this project is further demonstrated by the use of a UAV to collect data at just 250 metres from the platform and using satellite signals to guide the UAV – all with stringent safety procedures in place in the event of any loss of signal.”
“Of course there’s no single answer to reducing emissions, and there are definitely further solutions that we as an operator can look at. However, we now know that, as a result of this pilot, we can validate any emissions improvement.”
Meeting the Global Methane Pledge
The Global Methane Pledge – announced in November 2021 – aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% compared to 2020 levels and has attracted more than 100 countries to sign up.
With methane emissions notoriously difficult to measure, a critical step towards meeting that target has been achieved through a partnership between Flylogix, SeekOps and the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) to accurately, safely and sustainably measure methane emissions from offshore assets.
Chris Adams of Flylogix says, “With the support of the Net Zero Technology Centre and the active collaboration of TAQA, we’ve been able to innovate at real pace and lay the groundwork for the energy sector to contribute fully towards the Global Methane Pledge.”
Rebecca Allison, Head of Emissions Reduction at NZTC, comments: “We’ve talked a lot in the past about collaboration, and it’s been difficult to do that. But this has been a project where a lot of people have come together. The feedback from the community of like-minded people is what’s been exciting about the project.”
Brendan Smith, COO of SeekOps, adds: “The whole point of us doing this project is to be able to measure methane anywhere, globally, and generate like-for-like information, because to meet OGMP 2.0, operators will have to roll their data into one centralised location. This is a UN initiative – it doesn’t end at borders. So, when we started this initiative, it was to be a global offering and to educate the industry around the best practices for measuring methane.”
During the course of the project, the Flylogix and SeekOps solution achieved:
- 12,500km flown, unmanned
- Over 2.5m atmospheric methane data points recorded
- Average 10 x methane concentration measurements taken every second
- Data collected at just 250 metres from assets – the closest a UAV has flown to an offshore platform