Scientific background

Mitigation of climate change is a key societal challenge. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) agreed to limit global warming "well below" 2oC and, if possible, below 1.5oC. Reaching this target requires massive reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, far beyond the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. Methane is one of Europe’s most important sources of energy, and CH4 emissions are a major contributor to Europe's global warming impact. With a rather short lifetime of 10 years, CH4 is an attractive target for climate change mitigation. In particular CH4 emission reductions related to natural gas production, distribution and use are considered “no-regret” solutions, since they have only positive effects and can often be realized in a cost-effective way (McKain et al. 2015, Hopkins et al. 2016).

According to UNFCCC statistics 2015, Romania is the country in the European Union that reports the highest emissions of CH4 from the oil and gas sector to the atmosphere, in particular related to methane production and end use. However, the estimates reported by Romania are derived using non-country-specific Tier 1 emission factors, and there are only very few observations which investigate whether the reported emissions are realistic. Such measurements will be provided in the project ROMEO (ROmanian Methane Emissions from Oil & gas). The measurements will result in experimental quantification of CH4 emissions from the oil and gas sector in Romania and will help in devising emission mitigation strategies.

Objectives

The main goal of ROMEO is a combined bottom-up - top-down quantification of the Romanian CH4 emissions related to oil and gas production, processing and transport on three different scales, the exploration basin scale, the well scale and the city scale. This approach includes not only inventory statistics but quantification of individual facilities, together with a basin-scale aircraft approach. Two aircrafts (from Scientific Aviation and from INCAS) will be used for the basin scale quantification, and several vehicles together with drone-based measurements for the facility scale estimates. The campaign is scheduled from the 30th of September till the 20st of October. Besides this, the emissions in the city of Bucharest will be mapped due to logistical reasons already in August. The campaign is executed in close collaboration with the European H2020 project MEMO2 (MEthane goes MObile - MEasurements and MOdelling, https://h2020-memo2.eu). Blogs will inform about the progress of ROMEO.

References

McKain, K., Down, A., Raciti, S.M., Budney, J., Hutyra, L.R., Floerchinger, C., Herndon, S.C., Nehrkorn, T., Zahniser, M.S., Jackson, R.B., Phillips, N., Wofsy, S.C., 2015. Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 112 (7), 1941e1946. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1416261112.

Hendrick, M.F., Ackley, R., Sanaie-Movahed, B., Tang, X., Phillips, N.G., 2016. Fugitive methane emissions from leak-prone natural gas distribution infrastructure in urban environments, Environmental Pollution 213, 710e716, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.01.094
Pages 710-716

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