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Geospatial Insight returns to SPRINT to commercialise methane gas emissions detection system

NEWS: Geospatial Insight signs up to SPRINT to commercialise a novel solution for detecting methane gas emissions in the oil and gas production process

Will collaborate with University of Leicester for second project to help oil and gas producers reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Geospatial Insight, one of Europe’s leading providers of geospatial intelligence, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme, for the second time, to commercialise a novel solution for detecting methane gas emissions in the oil and gas production process. Geospatial Insight will continue to collaborate with the University of Leicester on this new SPRINT project to explore how the application of multispectral satellite imagery can enable the detection of methane plumes.

High resolution multispectral imagery is becoming routinely available from a wide growing range of satellites. The University of Leicester will deliver expertise in processing this multispectral satellite imagery to identify methane plumes from point source sites such as oil and gas facilities and from leak-prone nodes along a pipeline route, such as pumping stations and pipe joints.

The project is funded by a grant from the £5 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

This second SPRINT project in collaboration with the University of Leicester follows an initial project to develop new methodologies for detecting methane gas emissions. The University of Leicester provided Geospatial Insight with Earth Observation (EO) data analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery.

The Earth Observation Science Group of the University of Leicester has extensive expertise in Earth Observation methods, instrumentation and applications. It is one of the leading groups worldwide on greenhouse gas remote sensing. The Group has access to state-of-the-art simulation tools including radiative transfer and spectral retrieval software, as well as EO datasets.

Dave Fox, CEO of Geospatial Insight said: “By collaborating with the university on the first SPRINT project, we have had success in developing techniques to detect methane from EO imagery, but the methodology needs further enhancement to become robust and commercially viable. We demonstrated that in principal, Maxar WorldView 3 satellite data can be used to detect methane concentrations and potentially, quantify plume flux density.

“With further support from SPRINT, we would like to build on this success and ensure that a viable operational solution can be developed and deployed commercially.”

Hartmut Boesch, Professor in Earth Observation at the University of Leicester added: “The first SPRINT project was essentially a proof of concept, whereby we collected data from aircraft and modified as satellite equivalents to present a wider spectral resolution. This ‘journey of innovation’ has provided Geospatial Insight with the confidence to move to next level in the second project.

“By using satellite data, we can pinpoint emissions sources for the oil and gas industry, with clusters all over the world. Companies don’t generally know what their methane leakage rates are so we’re solving a real-world problem by delivering an independent capability to monitor reporting of methane detection and in turn, helping to mitigate climate effects.”

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