methane monitoring EARSC

Advancing Methane Monitoring: The Role of Earth Observation in Reducing Emissions

As the European Union places greater emphasis on reducing methane emissions and considers proposals for substantial reductions in the energy sector, the Methane Monitoring Working Group at EARSC (The European Association of Remote Sensing Companies) is actively contributing to the industry’s efforts to achieve the targets.

This blog article provides an overview of their progress and highlights the importance of Earth Observation (EO) data and analytics in monitoring, verification, and reporting. However, the question remains: Will the regulations be future-proof, will they allow for the inclusion of EO, and is there a technology to meet the sector’s stakeholders’ needs?

Lucy Kennedy, CEO and co-founder of Spottitt and Co-Chair of the Methane Monitoring Working Group at EARSC, recently served as the moderator for the session on ‘Collaborative Approaches to Methane Monitoring.’ The panel discussion featured a diverse group of industry experts who covered the entire value chain.

The following summary highlights the valuable contributions and insights shared during the discussion.

Methane Detection and Reporting Levels

Tanya Meixus Fernandes, OGMP 2.0 senior advisor at UNEP, opened the discussion by introducing the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS). MARS comprises four components: Methane detection and attribution, Alerting relevant parties, facilitating a Response, and establishing a System for collaboration, improvement, and learning within the industry.

Focusing on the first component, methane detection and attribution, Fernandes explained the use of global mapping satellites to identify and verify large methane plumes and hotspots. Further analysis utilizes satellite missions with high resolution, specifically designed to detect and attribute these emissions to specific sources.

She also highlighted the reporting levels within the OGMP, ranging from limited information based on emission factors to measurements-based reporting. It is clear that satellites have the potential to revolutionize methane emissions reduction. Some industry members are already collaborating closely with satellite operators, integrating satellite data with ground-based and operational measurements to reconcile all sources of information.

Key Considerations for Effective Implementation

Axel Scheuer, head of energy and climate policy at the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, expressed support for the development and establishment of EU regulations on methane. While Europe has been successful in mitigating anthropogenic methane emissions, with less than 1% coming from the oil and gas upstream sector, the industry acknowledges the importance of regulations to address technical details. Provisions and measures must be proportionate, efficient, and implementable to achieve the desired environmental impact.

Technology Testing and Data Validation

Maximilian Beck, Senior Policy Advisor at Uniper, shared that his company applies various technologies to prevent methane emissions, both fugitive and operational through a combination of short-term and long-term detection measures. Uniper is currently in the testing phase with satellite observation methods, exploring the integration of site-level management measurements with Earth Observation data. Validation is crucial, and Uniper welcomes the EU methane regulation to enhance data availability and external validation.

Challenges for Distribution Systems

Alessandro Morgagni, who is in charge of supervision and coordination of energy policies and relations with standardisation bodies at Inrete Distribution Energy – Hera Group, expressed strong support for action against climate change and the adoption of EU regulations. However, concerns were raised about certain aspects of the regulation. Different gas value chain segments, such as distribution system infrastructure, upstream, and midstream, face distinct challenges. For example, inspecting the above-ground installations in private properties, like service lines, would require the presence of property owners, making frequent inspections difficult. 

Please watch the full session recording for more discussion insights and to hear the results obtained from testing various aerial monitoring technologies like drones, planes, and satellites, by Inrete. 

Lucy Kennedy
Lucy Kennedy

Spottitt CEO and FIRE EO Evangelist for Infrastructure

Our latest news:

Spottitt Provides a Solution to Automatically Detect Changing Conditions on the NSW Road & Rail Network

Spottitt became Finalist in Transgrid’s Challenge for real-time insights for company’s easement route planning and Champion for Transport for NSW Challenge for tracking safety of roads and railways using satellite data.

The New South Wales network includes 6,800 route kilometres of operational rail lines and 17,600 km of state roads and highways.

TfNSW has identified Earth Observation satellites as a valuable addition to the monitoring technologies currently deployed and was looking for innovation to automatically detect changing conditions of network and potential risk modelling.

Satellites Drones Geospatial Data Collection Comparative Analysis

Deciding Between Satellites and Drones for Geospatial Data Collection: A Comparative Analysis

In recent times, the landscape of asset monitoring has witnessed a transformative shift with the emergence of advanced technologies, particularly satellite and drone systems.

The utilization of Earth observation satellites for monitoring purposes began gaining momentum in the late 20th century. Free government programs, such as those initiated by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), played a pivotal role in providing open access to satellite imagery. These programs not only facilitated scientific research but also allowed industries to leverage satellite data for monitoring critical infrastructure and environmental changes.

spottitt transgrid transport deloitte

Spottitt to Collaborate with Transgrid and Transport for NSW

Spottitt has been selected by Transport for NSW and Transgrid to apply satellite-based and AI-powered technology to automatically detect changing conditions in the NSW road and rail network and to provide real-time insights for Transgrid’s easement route maintenance and planning, respectively.

These projects will be conducted within the GRAVITY Challenge 06 program led by Deloitte Australia, an initiative that brings together start-ups, scale-ups, entrepreneurs and universities to address real industrial and environmental problems using space data. The Collaborate Phase will continue until mid-March 2024.

climate change EU UK Ireland satellite data

Weathering the Storm: Climate Change Threats to Power Grid Infrastructure

As our global climate continues to undergo profound transformations, the challenges posed by climate change are increasingly felt across various sectors of society, including critical infrastructure.

Climate change, characterized by rising temperatures, increased occurrences of extreme weather events, and shifting precipitation patterns, have exposed vulnerabilities within power networks. Often designed under the assumptions of historical climate patterns, now they are increasingly susceptible to the new normal of extreme weather, prolonged heat waves, and more severe freezing.

InSAR analysis Infrastructure Monitoring Sentinel Imagery

InSAR Analysis and Corner Reflector Experiments for Infrastructure Stability Monitoring Using Sentinel-1 Imagery

National Grid Energy Transmissions (NGET), which owns and maintains the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, conducts invasive analysis annually to monitor the towers most at risk of movement. Moreover, the NGET inspection teams perform annual line walking activities and monthly substation inspections during which they visually assess the presence of asset motion. These interventions are crucial to avoid issues which may cause expensive assets replacements or reconstruction. It costs NGET over £6 million per year to monitor only 1% of their most at risk assets.


Utilizing Satellite Data to Mitigate Pipeline Failures and Risks

The operation of oil and gas transmission pipelines entails inherent risks associated with the potential for unintentional product releases. Oil and gas product releases have traditionally been treated as safety issues due to the risk of explosions and asphyxiation, but increasingly, the environmental impact of unintentional product releases is fast becoming the key risk to be reduced and avoided via Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs.