FPSO Armada Kraken; Source: Bumi Armada

On methane reduction quest, Bumi Armada books drone-based emissions survey for North Sea FPSO

Malaysian FPSO operator Bumi Armada has hired IKM Testing, an integrated solutions provider, to undertake a drone-based methane emissions survey on a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is working in the North Sea.

FPSO Armada Kraken; Source: Bumi Armada

IKM Testing’s second contract with Bumi Armada for the methane emissions qualification (M∙E∙Q) service on the FPSO Armada Kraken was disclosed on Tuesday, 23 May 2023. Developed in line with the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) 2.0 framework, IKM’s M∙E∙Q service delivers full top-to-bottom methane measurement solutions that encompass data collection and reporting, delivering actionable insights to drive real change for emissions reduction.

As part of the service, IKM’s micro and macro quantification is utilised on components such as flanges/connections/valves to detect and accurately quantify methane emissions at the source. While the macro approach quantifies methane emissions by sweeping a sample wand around the components, the micro approach incorporates IKM’s patent-pending survey technology to deliver measurements, enabling source-specific emission factors (EFs) to be determined.

Sam Rowley, M∙E∙Q Technical Lead at IKM Testing, commented: “It is fantastic to see Bumi Armada understand the value of methane emission quantification, taking clear action and leading the way to reduce emissions of the FPSO Kraken, and we look forward to returning to the vessel later this year.

“The energy industry, as one of the largest emitters of methane gas, has made concerted efforts to monitor and reduce its output in line with net-zero targets. Our M∙E∙Q service allows operators to quantify and verify their assets methane emissions.”

This contract comes after an aerial survey in November 2022, for which the company delivered a breakdown of the measured methane emissions, including an overall asset methane value and localisation of methane emissions hot spots. In addition, IKM was able to provide an efficiency assessment of the FPSO Kraken’s flare by performing multiple drone surveys. The FPSO works at the EnQuest-operated Kraken field in the northern North Sea.

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Furthermore, the second drone survey, which is slated to start in 3Q 2023, will see IKM build on the results from the initial work, enabling Bumi Armada to use the results for its methane action plan, with the overall aim of reducing methane emissions from the FPSO Armada Kraken, which is a converted Suezmax tanker. This FPSO has a nameplate production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day, a storage capacity of more than 600,000 barrels, and is able to handle 460,000 barrels per day of fluids.

“With the UK currently falling short of its international commitments to cut methane emissions, M∙E∙Q provides a clear understanding of where these outputs originate, and how to better plan for improvement actions. As we navigate the energy transition, methane can serve as a transitional fuel. To maximise the benefits of methane utilisation, it is crucial for the industry to prioritise the reduction of fugitive methane emissions during production to the lowest feasible level,” added Rowley.

Moreover, methane – the second most prevalent greenhouse gas (GHG) caused by human activities – is a significantly more potent GHG than carbon dioxide (CO2), with 84 times the global warming potential over a 20-year period.

However, IKM explains that reducing methane emissions can have “a rapid and substantial impact” on preventing the worst global warming effects in the near term due to its relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere. As a result, it would provide additional time to address carbon emissions more effectively.

“In this regard, our M·E·Q service can play a vital role by providing a comprehensive assessment of an installation’s methane emissions. By understanding and actively managing these emissions, producers can enhance their efforts in utilising methane as a bridging fuel whilst minimising its environmental impact,” concluded Rowley.