Photo: Open Grid Europe GmbH.

Source: Open Grid Europe GmbH.

The project lead by GERG and Enagás, with the participation of 14 European Gas Infrastructure Operators and Gas Associations, aims to improve the knowledge on and the use of new technologies to quantify and drastically reduce methane emissions in midstream infrastructures.  The initiative is based on the development of blind controlled release tests that has successfully taken place last week in Spain.

The European Gas Research Group (GERG) has kick-started a first-of-its-kind research project to test the most promising site level technologies to quantify methane emissions in midstream assets, thereby reaffirming the crucial role of gas infrastructures in the energy transition.

The project is coordinated by the Spanish Transmission System Operator Enagás and supported by Bureau Veritas, as field coordinator, with the participation of other 13 European Gas Infrastructure Operators and Gas Associations: Danish Gas Center, Gassco, Gasunie, GERG, GRTgaz, Medgaz, National Grid, Open Grid Europe, Snam, Storengy, Sedigas, Synergrid and Uniper.

This initiative is in line with the objective of the European Commission to develop legislation before the end of 2021 to improve quantification and reduce methane emissions in the energy sector.

Moreover, this initiative will help European energy companies’ strategy to obtain the OGMP 2.0 gold standard, a voluntary initiative coordinated by the United Nations environmental Program (UNEP). This work will demonstrate the efforts that the midstream gas sector is doing to improve the quantification of their methane emissions, with a view to bringing them down based on the knowledge acquired during this exercise.

The energy sector considers the minimization of methane emissions as an opportunity to actively contribute to short-term mitigation of climate change, accelerate environmental commitments and further enhance the environmental value of natural gas and gas infrastructures. Gas operators remain more than ever committed to deliver EU Green Deals’ objective. This is a strategic project to ensure that methane emissions are adequately quantified and thus will be useful to guarantee that further methane reductions are achieved.

New Top-Down Technologies

This project seeks to provide participants further knowledge on how to use new top-down and site level technologies for greater accuracy, since the gas industry is normally using the bottom-up approach to detect and quantify methane emissions. The top-down approach can provide comprehensive information about emissions at a site or in a region, whilst bottom-up approach focuses on individual sources and equipment.

For the blind tests, the most promising technologies have been selected according to the results of a previous GERG project lead by RICE (Research and Innovation Center for Energy of GRTgaz), where a state-of-the-art study of site level technologies was developed.

This project has tested the behavior of 12 cutting-edge different technologies (9 top-down and 3 bottom-up), including fixed and mobile platforms last week, to assess their accuracy and reliability for methane emissions quantification.

The blind tests with controlled leaks has successfully taken place, and has been carried out with different flow rates at the Enagás infrastructure in Spain. The next phase of this project will be implemented in LNG regasification terminals, underground gas storages and compressor stations in different European countries, in order to observe the behavior in real sites of some of these technologies.

Advisory Board Members

The project counts with an advisory board to validate the scope and test program and to check the results. This board is composed by experts on this matter recognized at international level from Authorities and Institutions, Academia, Industry and Civil Society organisations.

An independent analysis of the results will be carried out for the study by the French laboratory LSCE, to produce a public report and a scientific publication. A set of recommendations on the best available technologies to be used for the midstream assets will also be developed. This will be used in a future phase of the project involving measurements on midstream sites.