What are Fugitive Emissions and Why Should We Care?

Fugitive emissions are greenhouse gas emissions that occur unintentionally during the production, transportation, storage, and distribution of fossil fuels. These emissions are a major contributor to climate change and have significant negative impacts on the environment, public health, and the oil and gas industry. 

Fugitive emissions of methane in the production of natural gas is especially problematic. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 86 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. The primary sources of fugitive methane emissions are the extraction and production of oil and natural gas, as well as the transportation and distribution of these fuels.

Fugitive methane emissions occur when methane leaks from equipment and infrastructure used in the oil and gas industry, such as pipelines and storage tanks. These leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, including corrosion, faulty equipment, and human error. The primary source of fugitive methane emissions is leaking valves.

The consequences of fugitive methane emissions are severe. In addition to contributing to climate change, methane emissions can also have negative impacts on air quality and public health. Exposure to high levels of methane can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea, and can also increase the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to reduce fugitive methane emissions. The oil and gas industry can implement measures to prevent and detect methane leaks, such as regular inspections and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure. In addition, the use of technologies such as infrared cameras and drones can help identify and repair leaks quickly and efficiently.

Once leaks have been identified, they can be solved through the repair or replacement of faulty equipment. MagDrive Technologies is working to bring zero emission, or no-e, valve drives to the industry to solve the problem of fugitive emissions from valve stems. By containing the valve stem inside a sealed chamber, and actuating the valve through the solid wall using magnetic arrays, process fluid has no path for escape to the outside world. The application of MagDrive fitted valves virtually eliminates the possibility of future leaks from valves. 

Governments are taking an active role in reducing fugitive methane emissions by implementing regulations and incentives for the oil and gas industry to reduce their emissions. Fines levied against producers who violate emission regulations are substantial. 

Overall, it is crucial that we take action to reduce fugitive methane emissions in order to protect the environment and public health. By working together, we can reduce these emissions and move towards a more sustainable future.