trending Market Intelligence /marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/GvPADDVr383Nd_TUG1yvOQ2 content
Log in to other products

Login to Market Intelligence Platform

 /


Looking for more?

Contact Us

Request a Demo

You're one step closer to unlocking our suite of comprehensive and robust tools.

Fill out the form so we can connect you to the right person.

If your company has a current subscription with S&P Global Market Intelligence, you can register as a new user for access to the platform(s) covered by your license at Market Intelligence platform or S&P Capital IQ.

  • First Name*
  • Last Name*
  • Business Email *
  • Phone *
  • Company Name *
  • City *
  • We generated a verification code for you

  • Enter verification Code here*

* Required

Thank you for your interest in S&P Global Market Intelligence! We noticed you've identified yourself as a student. Through existing partnerships with academic institutions around the globe, it's likely you already have access to our resources. Please contact your professors, library, or administrative staff to receive your student login.

At this time we are unable to offer free trials or product demonstrations directly to students. If you discover that our solutions are not available to you, we encourage you to advocate at your university for a best-in-class learning experience that will help you long after you've completed your degree. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

In This List

Ohio well explosion leaked more gas than estimates said, satellite data shows

Essential Energy Insights - June 11, 2020

Webinar Replay

Deep Dive on Oil & Gas for Financial Institutions

Essential Energy Insights - May 28, 2020

Essential Energy Insights - May 14, 2020


Ohio well explosion leaked more gas than estimates said, satellite data shows

A 2018 explosion at an Ohio natural gas well owned by an Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary spewed significantly more methane than the company initially estimated, according to an analysis of satellite images released Dec. 16.

The satellite images also indicate that the amount of methane released during the 20-day event was greater than the annual reported emissions of some European countries, including France, Spain and Sweden.

Methane emissions are the second-largest contributor to global warming but have historically been difficult to monitor and measure. The satellite image analysis paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the findings indicate that methane emissions around the world could be more widespread than prior studies have estimated.

"These comparisons highlight the importance of accidental emissions for regional- and national-scale emission reporting and inventories, as the lack of incorporating such emissions can lead to significant underestimation of overall emissions," the scientists said in the paper.

Using data gathered during a routine global survey by a satellite known as TROPOMI, scientists were, for the first time, able to both detect and quantify the likely rate of the methane emissions leaked into the atmosphere from a well owned by XTO Energy Inc. in Belmont County that blew out in mid-February 2018 and was not contained until March 7, 2018. After the event occurred, an XTO spokesperson said at the time that the leak rate was likely well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's estimate of 100 MMcf/d.

But satellite data gathered Feb. 27, 2018, the 13th day of the event, showed that the damaged well was emitting about 120 metric tons of methane per hour, or about 156 MMcf/d, which is significantly higher than the company suggested. Moreover, the rate identified for the Ohio well explosion was twice the peak emissions rate of the Aliso Canyon leak in California in 2015.

Assuming that rate reflected the average leakage amounts for the 20-day period, total emissions from the event would have totaled about 60,000 metric tons, which is 3,120 MMcf, or about one-quarter of Ohio's reported annual oil and gas methane emissions. The estimated total emissions from the one event in Ohio was greater than the annual oil and gas emissions for all but three — Germany, Italy and the U.K. of 15 European countries reviewed in the study.

Exxon spokesperson Julie King said in an emailed statement that the company's scientists are reviewing the study and its assumptions. King also said the company has instituted procedures to prevent events like the Ohio well blowout from happening again. Exxon is "working with government laboratories, universities and others to identify the most cost-effective and best-performing technology, including satellites, that can be adopted by all producers to detect, repair and accurately measure methane," King said.

One path to measuring future emissions could be relying more on additional satellite data, report co-author Steven Hamburg, a chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. Hamburg is co-lead for EDF subsidiary MethaneSAT, which is scheduled to launch a satellite in 2022 designed to measure methane across the globe weekly.

The latest results from the TROPOMI satellite "show the opportunity for satellites to help see and quantify emissions no matter where they are," Hamburg said. "Regular, widespread data like this offers an invaluable tool for industry and public officials alike to understand problems and identify effective solutions."