skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Methane emissions from underground gas storage in California

Abstract

Accurate and timely detection, quantification, and attribution of methane emissions from Underground Gas Storage (UGS) facilities is essential for improving confidence in greenhouse gas inventories, enabling emission mitigation by facility operators, and supporting efforts to assess facility integrity and safety. We conducted multiple airborne surveys of the 12 active UGS facilities in California between January 2016 and November 2017 using advanced remote sensing and in situ observations of near-surface atmospheric methane (CH4). These measurements where combined with wind data to derive spatially and temporally resolved methane emission estimates for California UGS facilities and key components with spatial resolutions as small as 1-3 m and revisit intervals ranging from minutes to months. The study spanned normal operations, malfunctions, and maintenance activity from multiple facilities including the active phase of the Aliso Canyon blowout incident in 2016 and subsequent return to injection operations in summer 2017. We estimate that the net annual methane emissions from the UGS sector in California averaged between 11.0 3.8 GgCH4 yr-1 (remote sensing) and 12.3 3.8 GgCH4 yr-1 (in situ). Net annual methane emissions for the 7 facilities that reported emissions in 2016 were estimated between 9.0 3.2 GgCH4 yr-1 (remote sensing) and 9.5 3.2 GgCH4 yr-1more » (in situ), in both cases around 5 times higher than reported. The majority of methane emissions from UGS facilities in this study are likely dominated by anomalous activity: higher than expected compressor loss and leaking bypass isolation valves. Significant variability was observed at different time-scales: daily compressor duty-cycles and infrequent but large emissions from compressor station blow-downs. This observed variability made comparison of remote sensing and in situ observations challenging given measurements were derived largely at different times, however, improved agreement occurred when comparing simultaneous measurements. Temporal variability in emissions remains one of the most challenging aspects of UGS emissions quantification, underscoring the need for more systematic and persistent methane monitoring.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1615119
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1760235
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-36605CH11231; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Environmental Research Letters Journal Volume: 15 Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; methane; emissions; underground gas storage; Aliso Canyon; temporal variability; imaging spectrometer

Citation Formats

Thorpe, Andrew K., Duren, Riley M., Conley, Stephen, Prasad, Kuldeep R., Bue, Brian D., Yadav, Vineet, Foster, Kelsey T., Rafiq, Talha, Hopkins, Francesca M., Smith, Mackenzie L., Fischer, Marc L., Thompson, David R., Frankenberg, Christian, McCubbin, Ian B., Eastwood, Michael L., Green, Robert O., and Miller, Charles E. Methane emissions from underground gas storage in California. United Kingdom: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab751d.
Thorpe, Andrew K., Duren, Riley M., Conley, Stephen, Prasad, Kuldeep R., Bue, Brian D., Yadav, Vineet, Foster, Kelsey T., Rafiq, Talha, Hopkins, Francesca M., Smith, Mackenzie L., Fischer, Marc L., Thompson, David R., Frankenberg, Christian, McCubbin, Ian B., Eastwood, Michael L., Green, Robert O., & Miller, Charles E. Methane emissions from underground gas storage in California. United Kingdom. doi:https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab751d
Thorpe, Andrew K., Duren, Riley M., Conley, Stephen, Prasad, Kuldeep R., Bue, Brian D., Yadav, Vineet, Foster, Kelsey T., Rafiq, Talha, Hopkins, Francesca M., Smith, Mackenzie L., Fischer, Marc L., Thompson, David R., Frankenberg, Christian, McCubbin, Ian B., Eastwood, Michael L., Green, Robert O., and Miller, Charles E. Wed . "Methane emissions from underground gas storage in California". United Kingdom. doi:https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab751d.
@article{osti_1615119,
title = {Methane emissions from underground gas storage in California},
author = {Thorpe, Andrew K. and Duren, Riley M. and Conley, Stephen and Prasad, Kuldeep R. and Bue, Brian D. and Yadav, Vineet and Foster, Kelsey T. and Rafiq, Talha and Hopkins, Francesca M. and Smith, Mackenzie L. and Fischer, Marc L. and Thompson, David R. and Frankenberg, Christian and McCubbin, Ian B. and Eastwood, Michael L. and Green, Robert O. and Miller, Charles E.},
abstractNote = {Accurate and timely detection, quantification, and attribution of methane emissions from Underground Gas Storage (UGS) facilities is essential for improving confidence in greenhouse gas inventories, enabling emission mitigation by facility operators, and supporting efforts to assess facility integrity and safety. We conducted multiple airborne surveys of the 12 active UGS facilities in California between January 2016 and November 2017 using advanced remote sensing and in situ observations of near-surface atmospheric methane (CH4). These measurements where combined with wind data to derive spatially and temporally resolved methane emission estimates for California UGS facilities and key components with spatial resolutions as small as 1-3 m and revisit intervals ranging from minutes to months. The study spanned normal operations, malfunctions, and maintenance activity from multiple facilities including the active phase of the Aliso Canyon blowout incident in 2016 and subsequent return to injection operations in summer 2017. We estimate that the net annual methane emissions from the UGS sector in California averaged between 11.0 3.8 GgCH4 yr-1 (remote sensing) and 12.3 3.8 GgCH4 yr-1 (in situ). Net annual methane emissions for the 7 facilities that reported emissions in 2016 were estimated between 9.0 3.2 GgCH4 yr-1 (remote sensing) and 9.5 3.2 GgCH4 yr-1 (in situ), in both cases around 5 times higher than reported. The majority of methane emissions from UGS facilities in this study are likely dominated by anomalous activity: higher than expected compressor loss and leaking bypass isolation valves. Significant variability was observed at different time-scales: daily compressor duty-cycles and infrequent but large emissions from compressor station blow-downs. This observed variability made comparison of remote sensing and in situ observations challenging given measurements were derived largely at different times, however, improved agreement occurred when comparing simultaneous measurements. Temporal variability in emissions remains one of the most challenging aspects of UGS emissions quantification, underscoring the need for more systematic and persistent methane monitoring.},
doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/ab751d},
journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
number = 4,
volume = 15,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {2020},
month = {4}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab751d

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Imaging Spectroscopy and the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS)
journal, September 1998


Estimating methane emissions from biological and fossil-fuel sources in the San Francisco Bay Area: Methane Emissions in the SF Bay Area
journal, January 2017

  • Jeong, Seongeun; Cui, Xinguang; Blake, Donald R.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071794

Space-based remote imaging spectroscopy of the Aliso Canyon CH 4 superemitter: ORBITAL SPECTROSCOPY OF THE ALISO EVENT
journal, June 2016

  • Thompson, D. R.; Thorpe, A. K.; Frankenberg, C.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069079

Real-time remote detection and measurement for airborne imaging spectroscopy: a case study with methane
journal, January 2015

  • Thompson, D. R.; Leifer, I.; Bovensmann, H.
  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 8, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.5194/amt-8-4383-2015

Methane emissions from the 2015 Aliso Canyon blowout in Los Angeles, CA
journal, February 2016


Application of Gauss's theorem to quantify localized surface emissions from airborne measurements of wind and trace gases
journal, January 2017

  • Conley, Stephen; Faloona, Ian; Mehrotra, Shobhit
  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 10, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.5194/amt-10-3345-2017

Potential of next-generation imaging spectrometers to detect and quantify methane point sources from space
journal, January 2019

  • Cusworth, Daniel H.; Jacob, Daniel J.; Varon, Daniel J.
  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 12, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.5194/amt-12-5655-2019

A Low-Cost System for Measuring Horizontal Winds from Single-Engine Aircraft
journal, June 2014

  • Conley, Stephen A.; Faloona, Ian C.; Lenschow, Donald H.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Vol. 31, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1175/JTECH-D-13-00143.1

Methane Emissions from the Natural Gas Transmission and Storage System in the United States
journal, July 2015

  • Zimmerle, Daniel J.; Williams, Laurie L.; Vaughn, Timothy L.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 49, Issue 15
  • DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01669

Airborne Ethane Observations in the Barnett Shale: Quantification of Ethane Flux and Attribution of Methane Emissions
journal, June 2015

  • Smith, Mackenzie L.; Kort, Eric A.; Karion, Anna
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 49, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00219

A national assessment of underground natural gas storage: identifying wells with designs likely vulnerable to a single-point-of-failure
journal, May 2017

  • Michanowicz, Drew R.; Buonocore, Jonathan J.; Rowland, Sebastian T.
  • Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 12, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7030

A review of underground fuel storage events and putting risk into perspective with other areas of the energy supply chain
journal, January 2009

  • Evans, D. J.
  • Geological Society, London, Special Publications, Vol. 313, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1144/SP313.12

Aerially guided leak detection and repair: A pilot field study for evaluating the potential of methane emission detection and cost-effectiveness
journal, October 2018

  • Schwietzke, Stefan; Harrison, Matthew; Lauderdale, Terri
  • Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, Vol. 69, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1080/10962247.2018.1515123

A cavity ring-down analyzer for measuring atmospheric levels of methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor
journal, August 2008


Estimating global and North American methane emissions with high spatial resolution using GOSAT satellite data
journal, January 2015

  • Turner, A. J.; Jacob, D. J.; Wecht, K. J.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 15, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-15-7049-2015

Methane Mapping with Future Satellite Imaging Spectrometers
journal, December 2019

  • Ayasse, Alana K.; Dennison, Philip E.; Foote, Markus
  • Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, Issue 24
  • DOI: 10.3390/rs11243054

Imaging spectrometer science measurements for Terrestrial Ecology: AVIRIS and new developments
conference, March 2011

  • Hamlin, L.; Green, R. O.; Mouroulis, P.
  • 2011 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2011 Aerospace Conference
  • DOI: 10.1109/AERO.2011.5747395

California’s methane super-emitters
journal, November 2019


Methane emissions from a Californian landfill, determined from airborne remote sensing and in situ measurements
journal, January 2017

  • Krautwurst, Sven; Gerilowski, Konstantin; Jonsson, Haflidi H.
  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 10, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.5194/amt-10-3429-2017

Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Compressor Stations in the Transmission and Storage Sector: Measurements and Comparisons with the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Protocol
journal, February 2015

  • Subramanian, R.; Williams, Laurie L.; Vaughn, Timothy L.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 49, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1021/es5060258

Monthly trends of methane emissions in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2015 inferred by CLARS-FTS observations
journal, January 2016

  • Wong, Clare K.; Pongetti, Thomas J.; Oda, Tom
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 16, Issue 20
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-16-13121-2016

A North American Hourly Assimilation and Model Forecast Cycle: The Rapid Refresh
journal, April 2016

  • Benjamin, Stanley G.; Weygandt, Stephen S.; Brown, John M.
  • Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 144, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0242.1

Airborne methane remote measurements reveal heavy-tail flux distribution in Four Corners region
journal, August 2016

  • Frankenberg, Christian; Thorpe, Andrew K.; Thompson, David R.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, Issue 35
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605617113

Airborne DOAS retrievals of methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor concentrations at high spatial resolution: application to AVIRIS-NG
journal, January 2017

  • Thorpe, Andrew K.; Frankenberg, Christian; Thompson, David R.
  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 10, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.5194/amt-10-3833-2017