A new study published today in Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T), describes analysis led by Carbon Mapper Carbon Project Scientist Dan Cusworth, identified 1,100 high emission point sources of methane in the Permian oil and gas basin, at least half of which are likely associated with malfunctioning equipment. The Permian basin is the largest oil and gas producing region in the United States, accounting for 38% of total US oil production and 17% of total US natural gas with an extensive network of more than 60,000 oil and gas wells, compressors, pipelines and other infrastructure – all of which are potential sources of methane leaks.
The team, including scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the University of Arizona, and Arizona State University, used airborne imaging spectrometry data collected during repeated flights of the oilfield in Texas and New Mexico to identify potential emitters and distinguish between planned and unplanned emissions. U. Arizona Research Scientist and Carbon Mapper Chief Executive Officer Riley Duren designed and led the airborne campaigns.
The Permian data is now available on JPL’s Methane Source Finder website and https://methane.jpl.nasa.gov and EDF’s Permian Map https://www.permianmap.org/ The Methane Source Finder website will serve as a prototype for the Carbon Mapper data portal that will be online by Fall 2021.
Duren also maintains a joint appointment at JPL. Cusworth joins U. Arizona and Carbon Mapper from JPL, effective June 1.