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Aircraft-based mass balance estimate of methane emissions from offshore gas facilities in the Southern North Sea

Pühl, Magdalena and Roiger, Anke-Elisabeth and Fiehn, Alina and Gorchov Negron, Alan M. and Kort, Eric and Schwietzke, Stefan and Pisso, Ignacio and Foulds, Amy and Lee, James D. and France, James L. and Jones, Anna E. and Lowry, David and Fisher, Rebecca E. and Huang, Langwen and Shaw, Jacob T. and Bateson, Prudence and Andrews, Stephen and Young, Stuart and Dominutti, Pamela and Lachlan-Cope, Tom and Weiss, Alexandra and Allen, Grant (2024) Aircraft-based mass balance estimate of methane emissions from offshore gas facilities in the Southern North Sea. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP), 2023, pp. 1-32. Copernicus Publications. doi: 10.5194/acp-24-1005-2024. ISSN 1680-7316.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-24-1005-2024


Atmospheric methane (CH4) concentrations have more than doubled since the beginning of the industrial age, making CH4 the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide (CO2). The oil and gas sector represents one of the major anthropogenic CH4 emitters as it is estimated to account for 22 % of global anthropogenic CH4 emissions. An airborne field campaign was conducted in April–May 2019 to study CH4 emissions from offshore gas facilities in the southern North Sea with the aim of deriving emission estimates using a top-down (measurement-led) approach. We present CH4 fluxes for six UK and five Dutch offshore platforms or platform complexes using the well-established mass balance flux method. We identify specific gas production emissions and emission processes (venting and fugitive or flaring and combustion) using observations of co-emitted ethane (C2H6) and CO2. We compare our top-down estimated fluxes with a ship-based top-down study in the Dutch sector and with bottom-up estimates from a globally gridded annual inventory, UK national annual point-source inventories, and operator-based reporting for individual Dutch facilities. In this study, we find that all the inventories, except for the operator-based facility-level reporting, underestimate measured emissions, with the largest discrepancy observed with the globally gridded inventory. Individual facility reporting, as available for Dutch sites for the specific survey date, shows better agreement with our measurement-based estimates. For all the sampled Dutch installations together, we find that our estimated flux of (122.9 ± 36.8) kg h−1 deviates by a factor of 0.64 (0.33–12) from reported values (192.8 kg h−1). Comparisons with aircraft observations in two other offshore regions (the Norwegian Sea and the Gulf of Mexico) show that measured, absolute facility-level emission rates agree with the general distribution found in other offshore basins despite different production types (oil, gas) and gas production rates, which vary by 2 orders of magnitude. Therefore, mitigation is warranted equally across geographies.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/199864/
Document Type:Article
Title:Aircraft-based mass balance estimate of methane emissions from offshore gas facilities in the Southern North Sea
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Fiehn, AlinaDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3376-4405152093628
Gorchov Negron, Alan M.University of Michigan, Ann Harbor, MI, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kort, EricUniversity of Michigan, Ann Harbor, MI, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Schwietzke, StefanEnvironmental Defense Fund, BerlinUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Foulds, AmyUniversity of Manchester, Manchester, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lee, James D.University of York, York, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
France, James L.University of London, Egham, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Jones, Anna E.Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lowry, DavidUniversity of London, Egham, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Fisher, Rebecca E.University of London, Egham, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Huang, LangwenUniversity of Manchester, Manchester, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Shaw, Jacob T.University of Manchester, Manchester, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Bateson, PrudenceUniversity of Manchester, Manchester, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Andrews, StephenUniversity of York, York, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Young, StuartUniversity of York, York, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Dominutti, PamelaUniversity of York, York, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lachlan-Cope, TomNatural Environment Research Council, Cambridge UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Weiss, AlexandraNatural Environment Research Council, Cambridge UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Allen, GrantUniversity of Manchester, Manchester, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:19 January 2024
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP)
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-32
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:mass balance, methane, offshore, natural gas
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Atmospheric and climate research, R - Project Climatic relevance of atmospheric tracer gases, aerosols and clouds
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Trace Species
Deposited By: Fiehn, Dr. Alina
Deposited On:29 Nov 2023 08:06
Last Modified:01 Feb 2024 08:36

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