Methane Plume Mapping Over Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico
University of Arizona
Offshore oil and natural gas platforms are responsible for about 30% of global oil and natural gas production. Despite the large share of global production there is little known about the greenhouse gas emissions from these production facilities. Given the lack of direct measurements, studies that seek to understand the greenhouse gas contribution of offshore oil and gas platforms are incredibly important. The use of airborne remote sensing to map greenhouse gases from onshore oil and gas infrastructure has become a prominent method to quantify and attribute large individual emissions to their sources. However, until now, this method has not been used offshore due to the lack of consistent reflected radiance over water bodies. In this talk I will present the results from a 2021 study where we used visible/infrared imaging spectrometer data collected over the Gulf of Mexico to map methane emissions from shallow water offshore oil and natural gas platforms. I will discuss the methods we employed to map methane in the offshore environment and how that differs from the onshore environment. I will show how remote sensing can efficiently observe offshore infrastructure, quantify methane emissions, and attribute those emissions to specific infrastructure types.
Dr Alana Ayasse is a research scientist at Carbon Mapper and the University of Arizona. She earned her BA in Geography and Environmental Studies from UCLA and her PhD in Geography from UCSB. Her research focuses on improving remote sensing techniques to map methane and carbon dioxide plumes, understanding the role of satellites in a global carbon monitoring system, and using remote sensing data to further understand trends in carbon emissions.