Irving oil major Exxon Mobil is testing new equipment to reduce methane emissions at 1,000 sites in the Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico.
The company is now using a mix of satellites, drones, planes, helicopters, trucks and fixed-position sensors to keep a tighter eye on methane emissions. The new equipment will be used to detect leaks and identify potential solutions that can be shared with other oil and gas operators.
“By testing the most promising methane detection technologies in a field environment, we are providing viable solutions that can be adopted by other producers to detect and reduce methane emissions,” said Staale Gjervik, senior vice president of unconventional at Exxon Mobil. “We are applying scientific rigor and taking aggressive steps to find commercially scalable and affordable solutions for all operators.”
Environmentalists have lost patience with the industry and lax government regulators over the pollution caused by oil wells. The Environmental Defense Fund debuted its PermianMAP project, which uses planes, helicopters, mobile vans and sensors atop cell phone towers to get their own emissions data. The group is releasing its data to the public and will identify companies with the worst emissions.
Methane is regarded as a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, because of how effectively it absorbs heat.
Fuel Fix: Get daily energy news headlines in your inbox