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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-165
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-165
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  02 Jul 2020

02 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Facility level measurement of off-shore oil & gas installations from a small airborne platform: Method development for quantification and source identification of methane emissions

James France1,2, Prudence Bateson3, Pamela Dominutti4, Grant Allen3, Stephen Andrews4, Stephane Bauguitte5, Max Coleman2, Tom Lachlan-Cope1, Rebecca Fisher2, Langwen Huang3,9, Anna E. Jones1, James Lee6, David Lowry2, Joseph Pitt3,8, Ruth Purvis6, John Pyle7, Jacob Shaw3, Nicola Warwick7, Alexandra Weiss1, Shona Wilde4, Jonathon Witherstone1, and Stuart Young4 James France et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham TW20 0EX, UK
  • 3Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9L, UK
  • 4Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, Heslington, YO10 5DD, UK
  • 5FAAMAirborne Laboratory, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL, UK
  • 6National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Innovation Way, University of York, York, UK
  • 7National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 8School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11974, USA
  • 9Departement Mathematik, ETH Zurich, Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract. Emissions of methane (CH4) from offshore oil and gas installations are poorly ground-truthed and quantification relies heavily on the use of emission factors and activity data. As part of the United Nations Climate and Clean Air Coalition (UN CCAC) objective to study and reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) a Twin Otter aircraft was used to survey CH4 emissions from UK and Dutch offshore oil and gas installations. The aims of the surveys were to i) identify installations that are significant CH4 emitters, ii) separate installation emissions from other emissions using carbon-isotopic fingerprinting and other chemical proxies, iii) estimate CH4 emission rates, and iv) improve flux estimation (and sampling) methodologies for rapid quantification of major gas leaks.

In this paper, we detail the instrument and aircraft set up for two campaigns flown in the springs of 2018 and 2019 over the southern North Sea and describe the developments made in both planning and sampling methodology in order to maximise the quality and value of the data collected. We present example data collected from both campaigns to demonstrate the challenges encountered during offshore surveys, focussing on the complex meteorology of the marine boundary layer, and sampling discrete plumes from an airborne platform. The uncertainties of CH4 flux calculations from measurements under varying boundary layer conditions are considered, as well as recommendations for attribution of sources through either spot sampling for VOCs / δ13CCH4 or using in-situ instrumental data to determine C2H6-CH4 ratios. A series of recommendations for both planning and measurement techniques for future offshore work within the marine boundary layers are provided.

James France et al.

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James France et al.

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Short summary
Measuring emission rates of methane from installations is tricky, and even more so when those installations are located offshore. Here, we show the aircraft set-up and demonstrate an effective methodology for surveying emissions from UK and Dutch offshore oil and gas installations. We present example data collected from two campaigns to demonstrate the challenges encountered during these surveys.
Measuring emission rates of methane from installations is tricky, and even more so when those...
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