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Sentinel 5P reveals Oil and Gas is the largest emitter of methane

Kayrros a European start-up has developed a technology that can detect large onshore sources of methane emissions in real-time. Using data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus program’s Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, the platform provides amount of flows and volumes of methane emitted and hence alert operators to take immediate action. Along with this the platform also uses supplementary data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions that helped it to pinpoint the location, potency and size of methane leaks around the world. Other sources are ground sensor data, position tracking and social media data, etc.

The platform combines extensive mapping of assets, deep sectoral understanding, and complex machine learning algorithms as well as detection and quantification models to identify the missing link between concentrations and emissions.

In a press release issued by Kayrros CEO of the company, Antoine Rostand says, “the combination of Sentinel 5-P satellite imagery and Kayrros technology represents a world first in the ability to track and attribute these substantial individual methane leaks. The good news is most of these are man-made and can easily be addressed through action by individual companies, governments and regulators.”

Kayrros has presented its methodology and approach to the European Commission and its Directorate General for Energy. The upcoming European strategy to reduce methane emissions will include a methodology for methane measurement and quantification that builds on Copernicus and other satellite data for detection and validation.

What does the analysis of Methane tracker presents

Methane being the second most important greenhouse gas which is increasing at a rate of around 1% every year resulting to global warming, it is crucial to track and regulate its emissions.  The data of Kayrros analysis shows that there are around 100 high volume-emitting events at any one time around the world. Together, in the course of one year, they are releasing 20 megatons of methane which is equivalent to 1.8 gigatons of CO2 in the first twenty years. Through its proprietary attribution model, Kayrros identifies that around one half of that CO2 equivalent in the first twenty years, or 1 gigaton, are in regions with heavy industry such as oil & gas, coal mining, etc. This is equivalent to the total annual CO2 emissions of Germany and France together.

Jean Bastin, Product Manager at Kayrros, explains, “Over one year, those 100 leaks are releasing 20 megatonnes of methane, with around half of those attributable to the oil and gas sector and other heavy industries. This means that this sector emits an amount of methane that is equivalent to the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of both Germany and France combined.”

The Methane Tracker provides independent verification of a company’s GHG footprint and facilitates engagement on a mitigation strategy in collaboration with the management team. It provides hard data that can be used to determine the GHG footprint of a portfolio giving investors better data to assess the environmental performance of companies.

Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager, says, “As with carbon dioxide, human activities are increasing the methane concentration in the atmosphere faster than it can be offset by natural sinks. Effective global monitoring of methane emissions is therefore essential and Kayrros have developed a new tool for this based on the unique Copernicus Sentinel-5P methane measurements.”

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