Large-Scale Controlled Experiment Demonstrates Effectiveness of Methane Leak Detection and Repair Programs at Oil and Gas Facilities

Jiayang (Lyra) Wang, Brenna Barlow, Wes Funk, Cooper Robinson, Adam Brandt, and Payne Institute Fellow Arvind P. Ravikumar write about the importance of reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations as a near-term climate action is widely recognized. Most jurisdictions around the globe using leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs to find and fix methane leaks. In this work, we empirically evaluate the efficacy of LDAR programs using a large-scale, bottom-up, randomized controlled field experiment across ~200 oil and gas sites in Canada. We find that tanks are the single largest source of emissions, contributing to nearly 60% of total emissions. The average number of leaks at treatment sites that underwent repair reduced by ~50% compared to control site.  December 9, 2021.