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Quantifying regional methane emissions in the New Mexico Permian Basin through a comprehensive aerial survey with Yulia Chen & Evan Sherwin

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the primary constituent of natural gas. Improving gas conservation practices throughout the oil and gas supply chain presents a great opportunity for methane emissions mitigation. Recently, aerial screening of methane point sources has made regional comprehensive surveys possible.

In this study, we leverage a comprehensive aerial survey of the New Mexico Permian Basin, finding that a relatively small number of high-impact super-emitting events drive total emissions. Our Monte Carlo simulation, implemented in Analytica, provides rigorous statistical treatment of these highly consequential, low-frequency, often intermittent emission sources while accounting for measurement uncertainty. Accounting for these uncertainties, our estimate is significantly higher than the estimate from the official US Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI). This suggests that aerial measurement campaigns can find key emissions that are missed in previous methods, flagging this small number of highly consequential sources for quick repair.

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