Natural gas is considered to have lower levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than energy sources such as coal. But it is still a fossil fuel that contributes to climate change. That’s why the emissions that stem from natural gas must remain at a minimal level.
Due to this reason, entities from the natural gas and oil industry go above and beyond to cut down on their natural gas emissions. These steps are taken throughout their operations and ensure that any emissions from their operations are lowered to a sufficient degree.
To achieve this feat, natural gas exploration and production (E&P) requires holistic planning, intricate measures, and specialized equipment. By having a well-devised strategy in place, natural gas companies can ensure that they do their part in controlling their emissions.
At Ironline, we specialize in delivering natural gas emission solutions and services to a variety of upstream, midstream, and downstream operations. Whether you are about to explore a new site or plan to optimize your operations in an existing region, Ironline team can help you achieve your goals while minimizing your natural gas emissions.
Apart from oil and gas E&P sites, our experts excel in reducing natural gas emissions through other projects as well. No matter if your natural gas use is limited to power generation or transportation, our team can provide you with precise suggestions to control your natural gas emissions in an efficient manner.
What Are Natural Gas Emissions?
Natural gas emissions refer to the production of GHG from the use of natural gas. Whenever natural gas is utilized during production, processing, distribution, or storage, procedures can contribute to the level of GHG in the atmosphere.
To understand natural gas emissions, it’s essential to take a look at this natural resource’s overall composition. By familiarizing yourself with this information, you can better understand all associated factors that make natural gas emissions such a critical topic for the oil and gas industry.
Popularly known as a fossil fuel, which is a fuel formed by fossilized remains of organic matter, natural gas is made out of several components that include natural gas liquids (NGLs), hydrocarbon gas liquids, and non-hydrocarbon gases.
This also includes water in its gaseous state (water vapor), as well as gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and propane (C3H8). But the most major constituent that contributes to natural gas emissions is methane (CH4), which is a highly potent greenhouse gas.
In fact, methane makes up approximately 90 percent of natural gas composition, which also gives it the most effect on the emissions caused by natural gas production and usage.
When released in the open air without being burned or used, methane is exceptionally capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere. This warms Earth’s climate and establishes methane’s status as a GHG. As a result, any leaks of natural gas during processes such as production, processing, or storage can result in methane emissions.
On the other hand, natural gas emissions can also occur when this fossil fuel is released into the air after being burned. It’s because when methane is used or burned, it releases gases such as CO2 and water vapor. Since both of them are also GHGs, these gases also contribute to global warming and remain a significant concern behind natural gas emissions.
Due to these reasons, natural gas in both its original as well as processed form remains quite prone to releasing GHGs into the environment. This makes it critical for every natural gas and oil operation to keep a close watch on its natural gas emissions.
By paying attention to your natural gas upstream, midstream, and downstream projects, you can ensure that you are responsible for using this natural resource. This particular approach and responsibility also apply to industries that use natural gas to power their transportation or industrial equipment on a regular basis.
While the process of controlling and lowering your natural gas emissions is intensive, the guidance of qualified emission control experts can help you breeze through it without affecting your productivity. This makes sure that you can meet your bottom line while also being compliant with all necessary GHG emission control measures.
<h2>What Are the Emissions From Natural Gas Engines?</h2>
Similar to much other equipment involved in natural gas E&P as well as industrial uses, natural gas engines can also cause GHG emissions.
These emissions can happen through the release of methane, CO2, or water vapor, among other GHGs. Since natural gas engines fulfill a variety of transportation and industrial purposes, the types of emissions that they release into the air mainly depend on their use case.
For instance, if you are using natural gas engines in your upstream, midstream, or downstream oil and gas operations, then your activities may be at risk of causing natural gas emissions through the leakage. In these cases, your natural gas engines may release unused gas into the air without it being in the right state. As a result, your engines may cause direct methane emissions without even using the gas itself.
But if your natural gas engine uses this resource to power itself in other capacities, it would be burning the gas to produce energy. This also holds for natural gas engines in transportation and industrial use cases. Your natural gas engine would be releasing CO2, water vapor, and other GHGs into the atmosphere in such an instance. When not actively controlled, these GHGs may have a significant impact on the environment.
This means that your natural gas engines are not limited to emissions of a single type. It rather depends on how you are using natural gas with your engines and how effective you are being in cutting down its emissions.
In order to make sure that you are preventing these emissions as much as possible, your natural gas engines have to be optimized for using this fossil fuel safely and efficiently. This need for caution applies whether you are processing your natural gas directly through a pipeline or burning it to power your engine or equipment.
Fortunately, following these measures is impossible to achieve when you know what you are doing. By deploying a few intensive yet critical measures, you can reduce your natural gas emissions and rise to the responsibility of being respectful to the environment.
How Can I Reduce My Natural Gas Emissions?
By the following control, modification, and prevention processes, you can make sure to optimize your natural gas engines. This ensures that your engines perform their intended functions without releasing an excessive amount of fossil fuel or its related GHGs into the air.
Through our team’s specialized experience and expertise, Ironline can help you fulfill the requirements to reduce your natural gas emissions. As mentioned above, the process is not easy to follow. However, when executed with the help of specialized professionals at places like Ironline, it is not impossible either.
Some of the steps that you can take to reduce your natural gas emissions include but are not limited to the following.
Do an Internal Check for Leaks and Losses
Whether you are already involved in the exploration, production, and storage of natural gas or if you plan to launch your E&P project on a new site, you must do a leak and loss check for your facilities. This can help you reduce methane emissions to the atmosphere.
In the case of an existing natural gas E&P site, this check can come in the form of leak and loss audits. In the instance of a planned project, this could be a comprehensive insight into your approach and its future execution. This makes sure that any existing or possible leaks of unused natural gas from your site can be handled, reduced, and prevented to the furthest extent.
In case your natural gas operation is limited to transportation or power generation activities, you can still run system or equipment checks on your facility. These measures can help you reduce natural gas, CO2, and water vapor emissions that result from burning or using the gas instead of direct leaks to the atmosphere.
Upgrade Your Infrastructure
This is perhaps one of the most basic yet most critical ways to make sure that you are not falling prey to excessive natural gas emissions in Canada. By using the latest equipment in Canada that is made with energy-saving and limited emissions in mind, you can bring down your risk of natural gas emissions in a significant way.
The best part? Upgrading your infrastructure becomes a walk in the park when you reach out to the right manufacturers. Apart from advising you on exactly what type of equipment to use, these entities can also help you save your overall expense by finding reliable yet cost-effective options for your usage.
Upgrading your infrastructure is beneficial for reducing your natural gas emissions. At the same time, it is also advantageous for your overall E&P or industrial project. When you invest in the latest solutions and equipment, it helps your infrastructure become more efficient, robust, and dependable. As a result, you can get more than one benefit from this step.
Consult With Professionals
If you take upon the challenge of curbing your natural gas emissions all by yourself in Canada, it can become more complicated than it has to be. You not only have to tackle urgent equipment upgrades, but also need to do internal checks for other infrastructure in Canada. Needless to say, this can take a lot of time and effort from your end.
Apart from asking for a more time-intensive approach, this also requires you to be well-versed in emission reduction. If you don’t have the required expertise at hand, you can take certain missteps that inadvertently hurt your operation and your overall goal.
To turn this otherwise tedious process into a more seamless action, you can reach out to experts who specialize in natural gas emission reduction. Through direct consultation about your existing Canadian infrastructure, your future goals, and your current compliance with critical rules, you can get an idea of exactly how to cut back on your natural gas emissions.
Focus on Training Your Teams
Since operating your natural gas engines in Canada is an intensive task, it cannot be carried out without the help of skilled professionals. That’s why the on-the-ground workforce makes for an integral part of any operation that regularly uses natural gas engines. In other words, their efficiency directly reflects how well your processes are executed.
With this in mind, you should start by making sure that your workforce in Canada has the proper skills and experience on hand to perform all essential tasks related to your natural gas engines. But in addition to hiring skilled workers from the start, you also need to cultivate their expertise as they continue working for your company.
In order to reduce your carbon footprint and cut back on your natural gas emissions in Canada, you need to train your staff about the best practices for achieving that goal. With targeted knowledge of modern equipment and advised processes, your workforce can easily avoid any mistakes that trigger excessive natural gas emissions.
<h2>How Does Natural Gas Reduce Carbon Emissions?</h2>
Out of the popular fossil fuels that include crude oil and coal, natural gas remains the most environmentally friendly option. This is one of the main reasons why natural gas has already taken over crude oil and coal in many countries around the world.
In North America alone, over 540 coal power plants have stopped operations since 2010.
Did you know that Canada is also a significant player within the natural gas industry? It is proud to be the fourth largest producer and the sixth larger exporter of natural gas. Individuals may not know that Canada can continue to produce its current output for over 150 years.
Indeed, countries like the United States, Canada’s neighbor to the south, have embraced natural gas production. It has soared from just over 59 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2010 to 93.1 billion Bcf/d in 2019. In 2019, natural gas-powered generators also provided the U.S. with 39 percent of its required electricity. This currently makes natural gas the country’s largest source of electric power generation.
Canada works deeply with the United States within the natural gas industry because of the interdependency of the resources.
This marks a significant feat for natural gas and its efficiency. But as defined above, much of it has to do with natural gas’s lesser impact on climate change than coal.
When coal is burned to create energy, it releases CO2 into the air that can linger in the Earth’s atmosphere for a whopping 300-1,000 years. Coal combustion also produces nearly 3x the CO2 as the weight of the coal resource. For instance, burning 2,000 lbs of coal can release approximately 5,720 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
In comparison, the methane that is released during natural gas’ E&P has an average timespan of lasting 9 years in the atmosphere. Modern natural gas-powered plants are also known for reducing CO2 emissions by nearly half the coal combustion quantity. This makes natural gas a far better resource than coal, which had once been the planet’s preferred fossil fuel of choice.
Its release and combustion properties aside, natural gas also reduces carbon emissions by its primary methane content. Whenever natural gas is released into the air in its unused or unburnt form, it doesn’t emit CO2 but methane. This also reduces CO2 emissions and ensures that your E&P activities don’t add hundreds of years of the burden to the Earth’s atmosphere, which is the case with burning coal.
But given that methane itself is considered a potent and strong GHG, it’s important that you watch over its release percentage during your natural gas handling processes. The natural gas amount that the Earth can afford to absorb into the atmosphere doesn’t go above 1 percent of the total production volume in terms of worldwide natural gas exploration and production.
If methane emissions go beyond this percentage, it can be detrimental to the environment. In fact, it can quickly negate the whole purpose of moving on from coal as an energy resource.
That’s why climate scientists and energy experts all over the world emphasized natural gas E&P companies to be highly careful about their exploration, production, distribution, and storage activities.
That’s where the measures of installing modern equipment, employing vigilant processes and training your workforce to come in. If your natural gas operation cannot meet this objective, you not only go against the suggestions laid out by global experts but also jeopardize the actions of worldwide natural gas E&P companies. Even while these entities do their best to keep methane exposure levels under control in their operations, your oversight can affect their efficiency and the goals they are trying to achieve.
How Much co2 is Produced From Burning Natural Gas?
As defined above, the amount of CO2 produced by burning natural gas remains at nearly half the level of CO2 released during coal combustion. Due to the methane content in natural gas, the fuel burns cleaner and also doesn’t cause as much air pollution. This makes natural gas a better alternative to coal at the surface level.
But even when you dig in a little deeper, the overall amount of CO2 released through the combustion of natural gas still stays quite low as compared to other fossil fuels.
When you compare the overall CO2 emissions, the calculation can get a little bit complex. However, it doesn’t take long for you to understand it and see just how efficient natural gas is at controlling CO2 emissions as compared to coal and other fossil fuels.
As outlined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CO2 emissions by natural gas are determined by therms, where 1 therm is equivalent to 0.1 million British thermal units (MMBtu). The Canadian Environmental Department offers a calculator to look at your natural gas combustion emissions.
By converting MMBtu to therms and following certain calculations, you can get an idea of how much CO2 is produced by burning natural gas. The calculations in question involve the associated carbon coefficient, the fraction oxidized to CO2, as well as the molecular weight of CO2.
This method outlines that natural gas’ average carbon coefficient is 14.43 kg carbon per MMBtu. This also translates to 0.0549 metric tons of CO2 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf).
When compared to other fuels for home energy use, natural gas also shows that it produces less CO2 upon burning. For instance, the average carbon dioxide coefficient for a 42-gallon barrel of distillate fuel oil is 429.61 kg CO2. Additionally, the average carbon dioxide coefficient of liquefied petroleum gases per 42-gallon barrel is 235.7 kg CO2.
On the other hand, the average carbon dioxide coefficient per cubic foot of natural gas is 0.0549 kg CO2. Since 1 gallon equals 0.13 cubic feet, this amount shows that natural gas is far better than other fuels for generating power while decreasing CO2 emissions.
With that being said, the methane content of unburned natural gas poses an important concern. As defined above, leaks of unprocessed natural gas do not release methane instead of CO2 into the atmosphere. If these losses are not controlled, they can pose a highly concerning a threat to the environment.
Upgrade Your Company’s Natural Gas Engines with Our Emission Solution Services
CO2 emissions aside, natural gas emissions need to be closely monitored by any operation using this resource within its E&P, distribution, or power generation activities.
With Ironline services, you can ensure to take a comprehensive look across your total operations in order to roll back on your CO2 as well as methane emissions.
Through our solutions, you can ensure that the amount of CO2 emissions during natural gas combustion stays at a minimal level. With it, you can also limit the amount of methane that can leak during your upstream, midstream, or downstream production.
With our comprehensive approach to limiting natural gas emissions, we can help you optimize your operations for a more efficient and more environmentally friendly approach to utilizing this fossil fuel for your needs.
To see how our team can help you with your requirements, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. We will be glad to discuss your needs and guide you through the process to control your natural gas emissions.