Leaks represent 26% of total methane emissions in Mexico and, globally, 32%. The Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program is an internationally recognized practice focused on locating and repairing leaks using various technologies. Today, it is the fastest and least expensive route to mitigating methane emissions. Therefore, Mexican regulation recognizes this practice to the degree that it is the only mitigationaction whose implementation is inexcusable. In this one-pager, we will present how the hydrocarbon industry can benefit from correctly implementing an LDAR.
The LDAR is a fundamental mechanism to prevent, mitigate and“predict” methane emissions when the information generated is processed and analyzed with a Business Intelligence (“BI”) approach. It is essential to systematize and manage the data during the four stages of the LDAR: 1) Planning and Improvement: is thestagewherethecriteriaforimplementingthe LDAR are defined based on previous operational evidence. 2) Field visit: where new emissions are detected, quantified, and recorded. 3) Repair and monitoring: where emissions are repaired, and their effectiveness is verified andrecorded. 4) Data reporting and analysis: the details of each emission are recorded: quantification instrument, volume, concentration, detection, and repair dates, among others; takes inventory and analyzesdata comprehensively for continuous improvement.
The Mexican industry subject to the methane regulation1 de la of the ASEA2 (Guidelines) must carry out the LDAR four times a year in most of the hydrocarbon value chain; from exploration and extraction to natural gas liquefaction, decompression, and regasification, among others; except for pipeline transportation and distribution that NOM-007-ASEA-2016 and NOM-003-ASEA-2016 regulate).
According to article 73 of the Guidelines, leak detection must be performed using Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) instruments or equivalents to detect leaks. Once a leak is detected, operators must quantify the leaks (concentration and volume) and, following the established thresholds, identify the period they have for i) their repair, and ii) verify that the leak has been repaired.
Article 74 of the Guidelines establishes that the estimation of the volume of leaks can be carried out with different methodologies (such as catalytic oxidation principles, infrared absorption, flame ionization, Method 21 of the US EPA, among others). However, if OGI is required for detection, the most efficient choice is to use QOGI.
1.- Efficiency: QOGI technology quantifies the emissions detected by OGI. Quantification can be done remotely. The latter allows a considerable reduction in cost and obtaining quantification results in hours. 2.- Efficiency: Quantifying each leak in a correct and timely manner allows ordering the priorities to plan its repair with regulatory, economic, environmental, and operational safety criteria. 3.- Consistency: By using OGI and QOGI during the four LDARs, operators can have an annual measurement with four observations, which will allow a better estimate of their emissions. If, in addition to this, theregulated parties use OGI and QOGI to measure the emissions of the base year, they maintain methodological consistency during the 6 years of implementation of the PPCIEM3.
The LDAR is the “workhorse” in the fight against methane emissions, with which companies in the sector can obtain immediate benefits with pure operating expenses. Using QOGI to quantify the leaks detected by OGI is the most convenient decision, both for cost and methodological consistency in the PPCIEM.
1 Disposiciones Administrativas de carácter general que establecen los Lineamientos para la prevención y el control integral de las emisiones de metano del Sector Hidrocarburos. 2 Agencia Nacional de Seguridad Industrial y de Protección al Medio Ambiente del Sector Hidrocarburos. 3 Programa para la Prevención y el Control Integral de las Emisiones de Metano del Sector Hidrocarburos.
Today, we endorse our leadership in the industry with great pride, having obtained authorization as a Third Party to rule on the Methane Guidelines for the exploration and extraction segment in the Hydrocarbons Sector.
In this way, we remain firm in our commitment to being a strategic ally that facilitates optimal regulatory compliance for all our clients.