Articles | Volume 23, issue 13
Research article
 | Highlight paper
11 Jul 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 11 Jul 2023

Continuous weekly monitoring of methane emissions from the Permian Basin by inversion of TROPOMI satellite observations

Daniel J. Varon, Daniel J. Jacob, Benjamin Hmiel, Ritesh Gautam, David R. Lyon, Mark Omara, Melissa Sulprizio, Lu Shen, Drew Pendergrass, Hannah Nesser, Zhen Qu, Zachary R. Barkley, Natasha L. Miles, Scott J. Richardson, Kenneth J. Davis, Sudhanshu Pandey, Xiao Lu, Alba Lorente, Tobias Borsdorff, Joannes D. Maasakkers, and Ilse Aben


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Executive editor
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential much greater than carbon dioxide. In order to understand and limit its global warming effect, it is important to have have observation systems to estimate its anthropogenic emissions. This paper analyses in a novel way TROPOMI satellite observations to track methane emissions from the largest oil production basin in the United States over a 2-year period. The analysis shows that emission variability and trends are driven by multiple factors, among which new well development and natural gas spot price are the most significant ones. The work is an excellent demonstration of the potential of satellite observations for near-real-time monitoring of methane emissions. It opens a broad range of applications, helping science and policy to understand and mitigate climate change.
Short summary
We use TROPOMI satellite observations to quantify weekly methane emissions from the US Permian oil and gas basin from May 2018 to October 2020. We find that Permian emissions are highly variable, with diverse economic and activity drivers. The most important drivers during our study period were new well development and natural gas price. Permian methane intensity averaged 4.6 % and decreased by 1 % per year.
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