Grant awarded: ‘The integrity of UK hydrocarbon operations from upstream to downstream’

Graham Ferrier, Senior Lecturer in Geography, has been successful in an application to the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility title ‘The integrity of UK hydrocarbon operations from upstream to downstream’.

One of the outstanding issues of unconventional hydrocarbon exploitation is the life-cycle emissions of greenhouse gases, such as methane. It is critical that we obtain consistent measurements of these emissions from exploration wells, production wells, abandoned wells, processing facilities, and the networks that transport and deliver gas.

An evaluation of potential methane gas detector technologies, initially under controlled conditions, and then at selected study sites, to monitor fugitive emissions at the site scale over the full life cycle of a hydraulic fracturing site is therefore required.

A research project led by the University of Hull with partners including the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the National Physical Laboratory is seeking to develop an operational image-based monitoring system that meets the essential requirements of developer, stakeholder, and regulatory end-users.

As part of this on-going project the University of Hull has been successful in an application to the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility for the loan of a range of field portable Fourier Transform InfraRed spectrometers and ancillary equipment to undertake a comprehensive set of observations at a range of representative emission sites. The award is worth £8,250 NERC-in-kind.

It is expected that the project will provide direct benefit to industry in the ability to assess integrity of their operations and so limit economic losses and environmental burdens.

For government and regulators the project will not only provide a better estimation of the impact of the hydrocarbon industry but also provide a better framework to assess emissions across the range of emergent technologies.

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