Promises by the world’s major petroleum producers to stop flaring methane and to plug the leaks in their infrastructure is supposed to cut down dramatically on “reflection pollution” in the atmosphere.
OK - seriously great move.
That said, what happens to those millions of cubic meters of gas? I’m thinking that, if it hit the market, the price of LNG should plunge and change the entire metrics of the transportation field.
It’s news to me that flaring is a problem. When done right it converts methane to carbon dioxide and steam. Carbon dioxide is much less greenhouse effect they say (but 3 times heavier). One hopes the pros know their chemistry.
Its a good bet the industry knows the cost of building a pipeline vs flaring (or simply venting when no one is looking). I think we know how big the fines need to be to get their attention.
They do say flares have their drawbacks. Need fuel to operate when gas source is intermittent. And may not burn all gas on windy day. Maybe better designs are needed. An ancient technology that maybe is more public relations than effective. And they often complain of the operating cost for fuel.
Machine pads, readily portable into a field, designed to take small amount of gas as fuel for motor that drives refrigeration and compression of gas into liquid into a tank that can then be hauled off. Available for ten years minimum.
I’ve also read that LNG tankers are changing their methodology. Instead of wasting and simply releasing the gas that warms during the long trip to their destination, they are now redirecting the warmed gas and burning it for propulsion instead. Smart!
I am only talking about the gas that would otherwise be wasted. Of course they wouldn’t use precious gas that can be delivered for propulsion, they would use the cheaper stuff. Previously, some of the gas that “boiled off” was simply released to maintain the proper pressure in the tanks.
Boil off gas compressors have been part of LNG transportation design for decades.
FLIR camera “emissions” check like what is shown in many reports is merely a view of temperature differentials. There is no way to know what is in those temperature differentials without a 5 gas analyzer.
Leaks are a feature of poor maintenance, but serious operators funnel that flare gas to caterpillar 3608 engine compressors that reinject the gas back into the field to prop up production.
Flowing all gas that comes to the surface would no doubt improve production, but you would see onsite power production, compression and injection equipment pop up much more quickly (this has and continues to be design basis for fields and plants)
Very little of this gas will get to markets as it will be consumed or (re)used in the process.