A recent study analyzed the 2018 explosion of natural gas in an ExxonMobil subsidiary and revealed something threatening. The study found that the explosion caused methane emissions on a massive scale.
The study revealed that the amount of methane emission during that explosion was so massive that it overtakes the annual methane emission in several countries. The researchers used various satellite images in the study to get an accurate result.
Importance of the Recent Study of Methane
The study is important for two different reasons. Firstly, this is the first time when researchers quantified the methane emission by using satellite data. The study suggests that how the satellite images are helpful to determine the methane emission, which is a major greenhouse gas along with CO2. Secondly, it showcased the environmental effect of the 2018 explosion.
More about the Study
The research team, having scientists from both the United States and the Netherlands, gathered data from the satellite to identify and measure the greenhouse gas. They took the images of the blowout, where the greenhouse gas was exiting the factory on the 15th of February in 2018. Researchers used the observations from the TROPOMI instrument launched by the European Space Agency.
According to the study of the amount of methane leak in 2018, the plant emitted greenhouse gas as long as for 20 days. The plant released 20 tons of greenhouse gas per hour, which is twice as big as the 2015 Aliso Canyon, California emission rate. As the emission continues for 20 long days, researchers calculate that a total of 60,000 tons of greenhouse gas released during the incident. Many countries have less yearly greenhouse emissions in comparison to the 2018 incident.
Methane emission contributes a large factor in climate change, as the gas is itself a greenhouse gas. The irony is that the company which is responsible for the incident- ExxonMobil- has already set the target for the reduction in methane emission.