Last week, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) released a study of methane emissions in the “four corners” region where the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah meet. Using a new technology – airborne spectrometers – the research team that included Cal Tech, the University of Michigan, and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and was led by NASA identified just 25 emission points on oil and gas facilities in the region that accounted for more than a quarter of all methane emissions in the region.
Here at the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions, we view this study as just the most recent example of how the deployment of new technology can help the oil and gas industry identify the “super-emitting” leaks that waste enormous amounts of natural gas. If those leaks could be found and repaired sooner, oil and gas producers could sell that gas into the market place and reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue. Of course, by finding and repairing these leaks, producers also get the added benefit of helping to reduce emissions of one of the most potent greenhouse gases.
For a summary of the study and how the technology worked, see: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6591
And to read one example of the immediate impact that new technology can have on imagining new ways of doing business, see: http://www.abqjournal.com/829841/nasa-study-adds-fuel-to-rules-on-methane-leaks.html