TotalEnergies and GHGSat launch a new initiative to monitor offshore methane emissions by satellite

Source: press release, 7 July 2021

photo: TotalEnergies
photo: TotalEnergies

As part of its commitment to identify, quantify and reduce methane emissions linked to its operations, TotalEnergies is partnering with GHGSat to develop a satellite imaging technology to monitor potential methane leak occurrences at offshore facilities.

This new technology, known as “Glint Mode”, annuls interference effects on data acquisition by observing sun glint on the ocean surface. This satellite imaging can be combined with local measurements for which TotalEnergies has developed the ultra-light AUSEA1 drone-mounted spectrometer, considered to be the most accurate in the world.

TotalEnergies and GHGSat have been working together since 2018 to refine methane emissions measurement thresholds in order to detect increasingly smaller emissions so that leaks can be prevented as far upstream as possible. In October 2020, the partners set a world record at TotalEnergies’ TADI2 testing complex, which is equipped with leading-edge detection resources, by successfully quantifying the smallest controlled leak detected to date. TotalEnergies and GHGSat are taking a new step with this initiative and will be conducting six satellite observations in Glint Mode of TotalEnergies offshore sites.

“As part of a continuous improvement program, TotalEnergies has decided to initiate a new stage in its collaboration with GHGSat to develop an innovative satellite mapping technology suited to offshore infrastructure. This technology will build on the methane emissions measurement system for which TotalEnergies holds the accuracy record and strengthen our position as a pioneer in developing methane emissions monitoring technologies,” says Marie-Noëlle Séméria, Chief Technology Officer at TotalEnergies.

“GHGSat is excited to expand its emissions monitoring work with TotalEnergies. By adding offshore measurements to its portfolio of satellite, airborne and analytical capabilities, GHGSat continues to enhance its services for market leaders like TotalEnergies,” says Stéphane Germain, President of GHGSat.

This partnership builds on TotalEnergies’ commitment within the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) to reduce the industry’s methane emissions.

TotalEnergies’ performance in reducing methane emissions is one of the best in the industry. The company has cut its emissions nearly in half since 2021 by focusing on different sources – among them flaring, venting and fugitive emissions – and by complying with stringent design standards for new projects to ensure that methane emissions are close to zero. The Company has already reduced routine flaring by more than 90% since 2010 and has pledged to eliminate the practice by 2030.

TotalEnergies’ objective is to maintain emissions intensity below 0.2% of commercial gas produced for oil and gas facilities and below 0.1% for gas facilities. In 2020, these figures stood at 0.15% and below 0.1%, respectively, in line with the Company’s targets.

In November 2020, TotalEnergies signed onto a second phase of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP 2.0), supporting a broader, more ambitious reporting framework extended to cover the entire gas value chain and non-operated assets.