The project is expected to achieve a world-1st in demonstrating high-resolution satellite-based monitoring of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions at sea.
Nearly 30% of global oil and gas production takes place offshore.
With a vantage point about 500 km above the Earth and high revisit rates, satellites could hold the key to verifying emissions from rigs, easily and cost-effectively.
GHGSat is testing a technique developed by NASA, amongst others, and proven in fields such as ocean height and ice-thickness measurement.
Stephane Germain, CEO of GHGSat, said:
- This is a GHGSat research project but one driven by customer demand
- Offshore producers are looking for ways to confirm their reported emissions
- With this new research, we hope to show that space can provide the data they need, in a timely, reliable and cost-effective way
- Measuring offshore emissions properly is important
- We need to improve the accuracy of the global methane stock take, replacing estimates with precise data
- As methane is 30 times more potent than C02 as a greenhouse gas, over 100 years, reducing CH4 emissions is one of the most effective near-term climate change actions
The company’s patented infrared sensor is able to identify the unique signature created by methane as it absorbs sunlight bouncing back off the surface of the Earth.
As water absorbs sunlight when viewed directly from above, GHGSat will take measurements at more acute angles, positioning the spacecraft’s sensor so it focuses on the point where the sun’s light reflects most strongly off the sea - the glint spot.
As the satellite is traveling at approximately 7.5 km per second, this requires precise choreography but means that 100 times more light can be sent to the gas detecting instrument, known as an interferometer, thereby enabling precise measurements to be made.