According to Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, emissions from the fossil energy sector is the largest global industrial source of methane. Moreover, the International Energy Agency has identified methane emissions from upstream oil and gas production as one of five key opportunities for greenhouse gas mitigation. As a result, field studies have been funded to measure methane emissions in countries that have prolific oil and gas production, such as Norway.
The rich oil and gas deposits located within the Norwegian continental shelf, deep below the frigid waters of the North Sea, have made Norway the 8th largest producer of oil and the 3rd largest producer of natural gas in the world. Over 180 offshore rigs currently stand in the Norwegian North Sea; however, due to their relatively inaccessible location (some over 150 miles offshore), the total emissions from these facilities had never been fully measured. Scientific Aviation was selected to remedy this.
They equipped their small plane with a Picarro G2301-f analyzer to measure methane, since it offers a high-quality measurement while being also relatively lightweight and compact. The combination of the methane measurement, horizontal wind speed and wind direction allowed them to obtain some important calculations.