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BP’s oil and gas projects to benefit from continuous methane measurement

Energy major BP has announced plans to deploy continuous measurement of methane emissions at BP-operated oil and gas projects in the future, as part of the company’s ambitious programme to detect, measure and reduce methane emissions from its operations.

Instruments for continuous measurement, such as gas cloud imaging (GCI), will be rolled out across all new major projects around the world. The tech is already installed in existing facilities, such as BP’s natural gas Khazzan field in Oman.

The plan is part of BP’s longer-term strategy to deploy a suite of complementary methane detecting techniques across new and existing facilities. Data gathered will help the energy major to identify the best opportunities to tackle methane emissions. The strategy should help deliver and improve on BP’s methane intensity target of 0.2% from its upstream operations.

Gordon Birrell, BP’s COO for production, transformation and carbon, said: “This programme represents an industry first and reflects our commitment to be a leader in advancing the energy transition by maximising the benefits of natural gas.

“For gas to play its fullest role in the energy transition, we have to keep it in the pipe. This new technology will help us do that by detecting methane emissions in real time. The faster and more accurately we can identify and measure leaks, the better we can respond and, informed by the data collected, work to prevent them.”

In addition to continuous methane measurement, BP plans to roll out a new generation of drones, handheld devices and multi-spectral flare combustion cameras to detect methane emissions.

“Many of today’s technological breakthroughs were only aspirations until recently,” explained Morag Watson, BP’s vice-president of digital innovation. “Three years ago, we sat in a room and brainstormed what we would need to achieve continuous measurement, because at the time the technology portfolio needed was not yet fully developed.

“Now we have the technology and solutions to get after this challenge. Technologies like GCI enable us to have continuous measurement. Coupled with complementary intermittent tools like drones equipped with lasers and methane ‘sniffing’ technology we are now creating a step-change in how we operate our new major projects, so that, inspections that used to take seven days will now be able to take 30 minutes. That time saving will allow us to continue to innovate and deliver better results.”

The data collected will ultimately feed information into a digital cloud network, as part of a global integrated approach to reduce both methane and carbon emissions, BP added.