High potential for CH4 emission mitigation from oil infrastructure in one of EU's major production regions

Foteini Stavropoulou, Katarina Vinković, Bert Kers, Marcel De Vries, Steven Van Heuven, Piotr Korbeń, Martina Schmidt, Julia Wietzel, Pawel Jagoda, Jaroslav M. Necki, Jakub Bartyzel, Hossein Maazallahi, Malika Menoud, Carina Van Der Veen, Sylvia Walter, Béla Tuzson, Jonas Ravelid, Randulph Paulo Morales, Lukas Emmenegger, Dominik BrunnerMichael Steiner, Arjan Hensen, Ilona Velzeboer, Pim Van Den Bulk, Hugo Denier Van Der Gon, Antonio Delre, Maklawe Essonanawe Edjabou, Charlotte Scheutz, Marius Corbu, Sebastian Iancu, Denisa Moaca, Alin Scarlat, Alexandru Tudor, Ioana Vizireanu, Andreea Calcan, Magdalena Ardelean, Sorin Ghemulet, Alexandru Pana, Aurel Constantinescu, Lucian Cusa, Alexandru Nica, Calin Baciu, Cristian Pop, Andrei Radovici, Alexandru Mereuta, Horatiu Stefanie, Alexandru Dandocsi, Bas Hermans, Daniel Zavala-Araiza, Thomas Röckmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ambitious methane (CH4) emission mitigation represents one of the most effective opportunities to slow the rate of global warming over the next decades. The oil and gas (O&G) sector is a significant source of methane emissions, with technically feasible and cost-effective emission mitigation options. Romania, a key O&G producer within the EU, with the second highest reported annual CH4 emissions from the energy sector in the year 2020 (Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data - Comparison by Category, 2022), can play an important role towards the EU's emission reduction targets. In this study, we quantify CH4 emissions from onshore oil production sites in Romania at source and facility level using a combination of ground- and drone-based measurement techniques. Measured emissions were characterized by heavily skewed distributions, with 10% of the sites accounting for more than 70% of total emissions. Integrating the results from all site-level quantifications with different approaches, we derive a central estimate of 5.4 kg h-1 per site of CH4 (3.6 %-8.4 %, 95% confidence interval) for oil production sites. This estimate represents the third highest when compared to measurementbased estimates of similar facilities from other production regions. Based on our results, we estimate a total of 120 kt CH4 yr-1 (range: 79-180 kt yr-1) from oil production sites in our studied areas in Romania. This is approximately 2.5 times higher than the reported emissions from the entire Romanian oil production sector for 2020. Based on the source-level characterization, up to three-quarters of the detected emissions from oil production sites are related to operational venting. Our results suggest that O&G production infrastructure in Romania holds a massive mitigation potential, specifically by implementing measures to capture the gas and minimize operational venting and leaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10399-10412
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric chemistry and physics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2023


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