Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry Seminars

Where are the emissions: Unravelling small and large methane sources in the US oil and gas sector

Mark Omara (Environmental Defense Fund)

Friday, Dec 1, 2023
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Pierce Hall, 100F | Remote option

Worldwide concerns over the catastrophic impacts of unmitigated climate change have motivated governments, industry, and interested stakeholders toward the development, adoption, and implementation of strategic actions to quickly reduce the global emissions of climate warming pollutants. Among climate warming pollutants, methane—which persists in the atmosphere for roughly a decade but warms the climate with over 80× the climate warming effect of carbon dioxide—has received considerable scrutiny as a key target for substantial emission reductions that could yield near-term results toward stabilizing the climate by mid-century. The US oil and gas sector is a significant source of avoidable methane emissions and represents a crucial methane mitigation opportunity. Within the oil and gas sector, characterizing where the emissions are located, how much is being emitted, and how these emissions are changing over time is key toward effective emission reductions. This presentation will unpack the past decade of scientific research on US oil and gas methane emissions, exploring the various methane emissions measurement approaches across multiple spatial scales as well as the major themes in the literature regarding the characteristics of facility-level methane emissions, basin-to-basin variability, and the relative importance of small methane sources compared to large methane emitters. We will conclude with a discussion on emerging research and technologies that are helping advance the global-scale quantification of oil and gas methane emissions and providing transparent, actionable data to inform effective methane mitigation and policy decisions.

Speaker Bio

Mark is a Senior Scientist in EDF’s Office of the Chief Scientist. His current work focuses on the assessment and source attribution of methane emissions from global oil and gas operations. His areas of expertise are methane emissions, global oil and natural gas, and climate change impacts. Mark holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY. Prior to joining EDF, he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies where he led the measurements and emissions characterization of methane from oil and natural gas production sites in the Marcellus Shale. He was also actively involved in several methane emissions measurement campaigns focusing on oil and gas upstream and midstream facilities across the country.


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