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Developing new techniques to identify fugitive methane emissions and their sources


   School of Water, Energy and Environment (SWEE)

  , Dr Michelle Cain  Sunday, August 28, 2022  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Methane is a major greenhouse gas and so contributes to climate change. Cranfield and Schlumberger are offering an iCASE PhD studentship, developing practical methods to monitor methane emissions from point source emissions such as oil and gas facilities. The proposed research will link observations of methane and other data streams from client facilities with appropriate atmospheric modelling techniques, to identify and estimate the size and location of leaks within site boundaries. This studentship will help Schlumberger and its clients meet their net-zero greenhouse gas emission objectives. This studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees for four years

The 2021 IPCC assessment report on climate change and the US-EU led Global Methane Pledge highlight the contribution of methane to the current global atmospheric warming trend. The IPCC report estimates that 0.5ºC of the current 1.1ºC temperature rise is attributable to this potent greenhouse gas. Sources of methane include agriculture, landfill, water treatment and oil & gas facilities. To assist Schlumberger and its clients meet their net-zero greenhouse gas emission objectives, there is a need for continuous monitoring at well construction and production facilities, and mitigation of vented and fugitive methane emissions. In collaboration with the newly-launched Emissions Management business line, this project will contribute to Schlumberger’s net-zero by 2050 roadmap, covering scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions, based on the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.

The proposed research will link observations of methane and other data streams from client facilities with appropriate atmospheric modelling techniques, to identify, then estimate size and location of leaks within site boundaries.

The key research objectives include:

1. Assess the challenges involved in identifying methane leaks at oil and gas installations and enabling timely remedial action. This will include understanding the minimum level of instrumentation required to achieve meaningful, quantitative estimates of methane emission within an acceptable level of uncertainty.

2. Develop modelling approaches suited to use the pseudo-continuous time-series methane concentration data to arrive at meaningful emission estimates.

3. Investigate if the ground-based emissions estimates from oil and gas facilities can be improved by combination with other sensing approaches, such as from airborne, satellite platforms and other on-site data sources.

4. Develop edge-based machine-learning techniques to provide near-instantaneous emission estimates.

5. Determine the suitability of the technology to scaling from individual facilities up to basin-wide levels and for its applicability in non-oilfield applications such as biogas, water treatment and agriculture.

Schlumberger is the leading provider of technology and services to the energy industry. Throughout much of the oil and gas lifecycle in over 120 countries, they design, develop, and deliver technology and services that transforms how work is done. Schlumberger are looking for innovators to work with their diverse community of colleagues and develop new solutions and push the limits of what’s possible.


Funding Notes

Sponsored by EPSRC and Schlumberger, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax-free) plus fees for four years.
This studentship is open to both UK and international applications. However, we are only permitted to offer a limited number of studentships to applicants from outside the UK. Funded studentships will only be awarded to exceptional candidates due to the competitive nature of the funding.

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