Ray Riddoch OBE, industry expert and Chairman of Sentinel Subsea, is warning the industry to be prepared for the new EU Methane Regulation.
The new regulation will enforce the oil and gas sector to track and reduce methane emissions and ensure exploration and production activities have detection and monitoring measures in place including subsea infrastructure.
The rule will come into place for EU nations in 2024, which will soon also impact importers into the EU. This rule signifies a broader ripple effect, affecting not only domestic entities but soon also those importing into the EU to adhere to stringent measures aimed at curbing methane emissions.
Discussing the new regulation, Mr Riddoch said: “The proposal for the Methane Regulation was launched by the EU Commission in December 2021, and with the large number of subsea wells that would require to be monitored, it is no surprise that the industry has been focusing on technologies that can be utilised to prepare for this new, hugely impactful regulation. As the industry debates the requirement of what wells should fall under this ruling (i.e. permanently P&A wells, inactive wells, exemption of offshore wells under a certain depth etc) the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) highlights that tackling methane emissions and leak prevention is ‘inherent to our industry’s license to operate’ and therefore must be addressed.
“As a collective industry, we recognise the need for low carbon production until there can be a transition away from hydrocarbons – even by 2050, the UK Climate Change Committee estimate that 25% of the UK’s energy will come from oil and gas production. The reality is we need to continue focusing on solutions to reduce emissions and with recommendations that the sector impose Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) routines as standard, passive technologies are part of this risk-based and balanced approach to subsea LDAR.
Mr Riddoch admits that given the remote nature of subsea infrastructure, tackling the challenge of methane emission will require a different approach than is being adopted for onshore or platform facilities, however, we are already seeing reports incorrectly stating that technologies to support the EU regulations haven’t been developed yet.
Sentinel Subsea has successfully implemented offshore WellSentinel technology that can effectively tackle many of the industry concerns. While continuously monitoring an asset, the system’s non-invasive and straightforward deployment sets it apart. Moreover, its economic viability throughout the life of the field adds to its appeal, making it a sustainable choice. This technology boasts the capability to detect low-level emissions, offering a heightened environmental sensitivity. With a field-proven track record, Sentinel Subsea’s technology is already making huge advancements to the offshore industry, addressing issues with wellheads and Christmas trees, showcasing its practicality and reliability in real-world applications.
Sentinel Subsea has developed the industry’s only completely passive subsea monitoring technology which can detect a range of emissions and rapidly alert the well owner. The field-proven WellSentinel™ system provides reliable and continuous monitoring without the use of active subsea power, data communication or complex intervention. The remote monitoing technology has already been deployed globally for multiple operators to help de-risk subsea well operations.
He continued “We continue to work with the industry to support the forthcoming EU Methane Regulation and help oil and gas companies with targets to limit emissions. At Sentinel Subsea, our mission is to support the sector in reaching the ‘Oil and Gas Climate Initiatives’ aim for zero methane emissions by 2030 and to do this, technology needs to be understood, and innovation must be embraced”.
Ray Riddoch is an esteemed industry expert having worked in key leadership roles at organisations including CNOOC, Nexen, Total and Elf. His 40 years of energy sector industry experienced was recognised when he was on the New Year’s Honours list and received an OBE for Services to the Oil & Gas Industry. He joined Sentinel Subsea as Chairman in 2021.