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Satellite-based survey of extreme methane emissions in the Permian basin

Irakulis-Loitxate, Itziar and Guanter, Luis and Liu, Yin-Nian and Varon, Daniel J. and Maasakkers, Joannes D. and Zhang, Yuzhong and Chulakadabba, Apisada and Wofsy, Steven C. and Thorpe, Andrew K. and Duren, Riley M. and Frankenberg, Christian and Lyon, David R. and Hmiel, Benjamin and Cusworth, Daniel H. and Zhang, Yongguang and Segl, Karl and Gorroño, Javier and Sánchez-García, Elena and Sulprizio, Melissa P. and Cao, Kaiqin and Zhu, Haijian and Liang, Jian and Li, Xun and Aben, Ilse and Jacob, Daniel J. (2021) Satellite-based survey of extreme methane emissions in the Permian basin. Science Advances, 7 (27). Art. No. eabf4507. ISSN 2375-2548. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abf4507.

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Industrial emissions play a major role in the global methane budget. The Permian basin is thought to be responsible for almost half of the methane emissions from all U.S. oil- and gas-producing regions, but little is known about individual contributors, a prerequisite for mitigation. We use a new class of satellite measurements acquired during several days in 2019 and 2020 to perform the first regional-scale and high-resolution survey of methane sources in the Permian. We find an unexpectedly large number of extreme point sources (37 plumes with emission rates >500 kg hour⁻¹), which account for a range between 31 and 53% of the estimated emissions in the sampled area. Our analysis reveals that new facilities are major emitters in the area, often due to inefficient flaring operations (20% of detections). These results put current practices into question and are relevant to guide emission reduction efforts.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Materials ItemImages
Irakulis-Loitxate, Itziar0000-0003-3646-4950
Guanter, Luis0000-0002-8389-5764
Liu, Yin-Nian0000-0002-7988-5862
Varon, Daniel J.0000-0002-3207-5731
Zhang, Yuzhong0000-0001-5431-5022
Chulakadabba, Apisada0000-0001-8180-4200
Wofsy, Steven C.0000-0002-3133-2089
Thorpe, Andrew K.0000-0001-7968-5433
Duren, Riley M.0000-0003-4723-5280
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Lyon, David R.0000-0002-4400-1190
Hmiel, Benjamin0000-0002-5289-7492
Cusworth, Daniel H.0000-0003-0158-977X
Zhang, Yongguang0000-0001-8286-300X
Segl, Karl0000-0001-8909-1006
Gorroño, Javier0000-0001-9318-7481
Sánchez-García, Elena0000-0002-8642-2436
Sulprizio, Melissa P.0000-0003-4641-5546
Liang, Jian0000-0002-7002-6287
Li, Xun0000-0002-0645-2265
Aben, Ilse0000-0003-2198-0768
Jacob, Daniel J.0000-0002-6373-3100
Additional Information:© 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Submitted 27 October 2020; Accepted 13 May 2021; Published 30 June 2021. We thank R. Colombo from the University of Milano—Bicocca (Italy) for initial assistance to request PRISMA data. Funding: I.I.-L., L.G., J.G., and E.S.-G. are partly funded by an UPV-GFZ Potsdam EnMAP collaboration contract. Yuzhong Zhang is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (project 42007198) and foundation of Westlake University. Author contributions: Conceptualization and methodology: L.G. and I.I.-L.; formal analysis: I.I.-L., L.G., D.J.V., J.D.M., Yu. Z., A.C., S.C.W., A.K.T., R.M.D., D.H.C., K.S., J.G., and E.S.-G.; investigation: all authors; resources: Y.-N.L., A.C., S.C.W., Yo. Z., K.C., H.Z., J.L., and M.P.S.; supervision: L.G., C.F., D.J.J., D.R.L., and I.A.; writing—original draft: L.G.; writing—review and editing: all authors. The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: Images of the detected plumes overlaid onto high-resolution images can be accessed through the online Geographic Information System All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. The raw methane plume datasets used in this analysis can be found in
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV)UNSPECIFIED
German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)UNSPECIFIED
National Natural Science Foundation of China42007198
Westlake UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:27
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210707-161623309
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:I. Irakulis-Loitxate, L. Guanter, Y.-N. Liu, D. J. Varon, J. D. Maasakkers, Y. Zhang, A. Chulakadabba, S. C. Wofsy, A. K. Thorpe, R. M. Duren, C. Frankenberg, D. R. Lyon, B. Hmiel, D. H. Cusworth, Y. Zhang, K. Segl, J. Gorroño, E. Sánchez-García, M. P. Sulprizio, K. Cao, H. Zhu, J. Liang, X. Li, I. Aben, D. J. Jacob, Satellite-based survey of extreme methane emissions in the Permian basin. Sci. Adv. 7, eabf4507 (2021)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109744
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Jul 2021 17:14
Last Modified:08 Jul 2021 17:14

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