Large Methane Plume Detected Over Southern Iraq
(Bloomberg) -- Satellites detected a large release of super-warming methane gas over southern Iraq last month.
The methane cloud, spotted by geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS using European Space Agency satellite data, was halfway between Baghdad and Basra, an oil and gas hub in southern Iraq. The rate of release was about 130 tons per hour, which has approximately the same climate-warming impact as 6,500 U.K. cars running for a year.
One regional producer, Thiqar Oil Co., denied that its assets were the source of the release. Oil Pipelines Co., another operator, did not announce the release on its official page for leaks and maintenance. Iraq’s oil ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Methane, which is the major component of natural gas, has more than 80 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over the short term. Scientists say that reducing methane emissions is one of the quickest ways to slow down global warming.
Oil Pipelines Co. admitted to a release of liquefied petroleum gas in July. The company said the leak lasted only a few hours and didn’t include methane. LPG is made up of mostly propane and butane, but also has small amounts of methane and ethane. Kayrros data estimated the emissions rate was about 70 tons of methane per hour.
Kayrros also picked up a release in Iraq in June that may have lasted 24 hours. Iraq is one of the world’s top fossil-fuel producers, pumping around 4 million barrels a day of crude oil. It is ranked the fifth-biggest emitter of methane among its peers, according to the International Energy Agency.
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