Posts Tagged ‘GHG intensity’

The NOIA/ICF report is favorable from a Gulf of Mexico perspective, but 2 general caveats should be highlighted:

  • “The estimation of the production related GHG for various crude oils and condensates is a complex process that is hindered by lack of public, up-to-date, and high-quality data.
  • “There is considerable controversy regarding certain critical data including quantity of gas flared, operational flare efficiencies, and the volumes of methane releases along oil and gas supply chains.”


  • More work is needed to better determine cold venting volumes:
    • Table 7, p. 13, of the NOIA/ICF report indicates venting (methane) emissions of 71,200 metric tons/year for GoM operations. That number is aligned with the 2017 GOADS data (70,488 tons per Table 6-11, p. 112).
    • ONRR venting data are in the same ballpark as the ICF and GOADS data. Per ONRR data, 2.35 bcf (~61,000 metric tons) were vented in 2022.
    • The recent PNAS report found that much more gas is being vented: 410,000 – 810,000 tons annually. If the PNAS findings are accurate, venting is being significantly underestimated and/or under-reported.
    • Per ICF, lower flaring and venting volumes are the main reason for the GoM’s lower GHG emission intensity, so data accuracy is important. The difference between the government data and the PNAS findings (see table below) should be carefully assessed.
  • The NOIA/ICF report did not distinguish between GoM deepwater and shelf emissions.
    • The PNAS report indicates much higher methane emissions intensity on the shelf, as do most subjective assessments.
    • Future studies should provide separate GHG intensity data for shelf and deepwater facilities.
  • All production cannot be from the lowest emission intensity sources. The objective should be to minimize emissions from each source, not to eliminate production. GoM shelf operations have other advantages, most notably the production of nonassociated natural gas.
sourceGoM gas vented (annual in metric tons)
ICF report71,200
GOADS 201770,488
ONRR 2022 data61,000
PNAS report410,000 – 810,000

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Shell Vit0
Chevron Anchor
BP’s Argos
Murphy’s King’s Quay

After a several year lag in deepwater Gulf of Mexico development, a new generation of projects is moving toward first production. Shell’s Vito and Whale, BP’s Argos, Chevron’s Anchor, and Murphy’s King’s Quay are similar in many ways including the following:

  • Floating production units
  • Lighter, smaller semisubmersible designs
  • Excellent structural integrity and storm performance characteristics
  • Lower project costs, shorter cycle times
  • 4000 to 8600′ water depth
  • Subsea wells, small surface footprint
  • High production rates anticipated: 100,000 – 150,000 BOE/D
  • Standardized equipment
  • Energy efficient gas turbines
  • Advanced remote monitoring, fewer onboard staff
  • Simpler = safer (assuming equivalent well and production safety system integrity)
  • Limited number of wells + high production rates/well + efficient power generation and processing equipment + restricted flaring + pipeline transportation = low GHG intensity production

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