Across many of the world’s natural gas production fields, gas pneumatic devices used for process control and chemical injection vent methane directly into the air.
Throughout 2018, Saudi Aramco implemented a comprehensive leak detection and repair (LDAR) programme, enabling further reductions in emissions through the identification and mitigation of fugitive leaks, one of the largest sources of methane emissions in the oil and gas industry.
LDAR programmes are designed to systematically identify and repair leaking equipment and components, such as valves, flanges, connectors, pumps, compressors and tanks.
Saudi Aramco’s programme is exhaustive by design. It covers all operating facilities in Saudi Arabia, and requires a detailed process analysis, tagging millions of components, performing field surveys on all equipment, repairing leaks, upgrading equipment, changing processes and verifying the results.
Its 2018 LDAR field measurements were assessed by an independent reviewer and have affirmed Saudi Aramco’s strong performance at the asset level. The company’s total measured methane emissions for oil and gas assets in Saudi Arabia were significantly less than those estimated using desktop calculations for prior years, bringing a significant boost to OGCI’s efforts to meet its aggregate upstream methane intensity target.
Saudi Aramco is now revising its LDAR protocol to improve monitoring, definitions and repair enforcement, and expects to deploy new technologies in monitoring and minimizing fugitive emissions, such as specialized drones for methane detection and quantification, as well as next generation valves.
What OGCI member companies are doing to reduce methane emissions
Member companies are expanding leak detection and repair campaigns, removing high-emitting devices, and reducing both flaring and venting.