Scientists have used satellite data to identify more than 1,800 major releases of the potent greenhouse gas methane, according to a landmark study published in Science. The research validates a methodology developed in recent years to spot super-emissions from fossil fuel operations.
Large plume events account for between 8% and 12% of all releases from the oil and gas sector and many of them can be mitigated at low cost, according to the report published Friday. The methane detected by French and American researchers from 2019 and 2020 was concentrated mostly in Russia, Turkmenistan, parts of the U.S., Kazakhstan, Iran and Algeria. As many as 150 clouds were seen by satellite each month, some of which spread for hundreds of kilometers.