Sunday, June 3, 2018

Arctic Methane Leaks Go Undetected Because Equipment Can’t Handle the Cold

The most widely-used technology for detecting methane leaks from oil and gas operations does not work reliably in extremely cold weather—like on Alaska's North Slope, according to recent research and the industry's own reports.
Infrared cameras are critical for detecting methane leaks in oil and gas
facilities, but they struggle in cold temperatures. Here, an infrared
camera reveals a giant methane leak from Aliso Canyon in California.
The gas appears as a rising yellow plume beyond the hills. 
When the weather hits the extreme lows common around Prudhoe Bay, when the winds whip and the sun dips below the horizon for a few months, the infrared technology required to look for methane leaks isn't always able to find them.

"A lot of the equipment just doesn't function well at -40 or -50," said James Plosay, who manages the air permits program for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Air Quality.

Read the Inside Climate News story by Sabrina Shankman - “Arctic Methane Leaks Go Undetected Because Equipment Can’t Handle the Cold.”

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