Methane Monitoring 101: Best Practices for Compliance and Technology

March 8, 2024 —


Methane monitoring involves the continuous measurement of methane emissions in various industrial operations, particularly in the oil and gas sector. A proactive approach is essential for identifying and mitigating unintended releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Methane monitoring often is completed using advanced technologies such as Leak Detection Sensor Networks (LDSNs), Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras, and other innovative solutions in order to enhance detection speed, accuracy, and efficiency. The collected data enables companies to comply with evolving regulatory requirements, implement timely repairs, and contribute to overall environmental sustainability by minimizing methane emissions.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has been actively involved in methane monitoring and regulation, particularly due to methane's status as a potent greenhouse gas. Through initiatives like the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), specific regulations targeting methane emissions from oil and gas operations, and collaborative efforts with industry stakeholders and other agencies, the USEPA has worked to track and reduce methane emissions.

Regulations — Current & Upcoming

  • NSPS Subparts OOOOb & OOOOc: The U.S. EPA finalized the NSPS Subpart OOOO series rules in December 2023, imposing stringent methane emissions controls on oil and gas operations. NSPS Subpart OOOOb mandates heightened controls for sites constructed, reconstructed, or modified after December 6, 2022, while Subpart OOOOc requires that states implement requirements to ensure equivalate measures of control to existing sites by 2027. NSPS Subpart OOOOb also introduces the novel "Super Emitter" program, allowing qualified third parties to detect significant methane leaks and report them to the EPA.
  • Waste Emissions Charge (WEC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems: A draft rulemaking for the Waste Emissions Charge (WEC) was introduced in January 2024, proposing charges for emissions exceeding allowable levels, starting at $900 per metric ton in reporting year 2024 and increasing annually until it reaches $1,500 per metric ton in reporting year 2026. Fees will be based on emissions as reported through the GHGRP MRR (below).
  • Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Mandatory Reporting Rule (GHGRP MRR): Anticipated by mid-2024, the EPA plans to revise the GHGRP MRR, particularly affecting Subpart W. Subpart W targets owners or operators of facilities that contain petroleum and natural gas systems and emit 25,000 metric tons or more of GHGs per year. These changes will incorporate more provisions for measurement-informed emissions inventories, particularly for the oil and gas sector. The revised requirements are expected to apply beginning reporting year 2025.
  • Colorado adopts the greenhouse gas intensity verification rule: Colorado implemented the greenhouse gas intensity verification rule in June 2023, requiring direct measurement for emissions inventory and GHG intensity calculations, effective in 2025.
  • California AB1167 passes orphaned well legislation: California's AB1167 mandates companies acquiring idle wells to set aside funds for cleanup costs, aimed at preventing orphaned wells, and promoting environmental responsibility.
  • Canada announces national emissions cap-and-trade: Canada unveiled plans for a national emissions cap-and-trade program aimed at the oil and gas industry, with draft regulations slated for mid-2024, finalization expected in 2025, and mandatory annual reporting as soon as 2026.
  • COP28 participants commit to reducing methane emissions: Canada's Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) released a draft regulation to slash oil and gas methane emissions by 75% below 2012 levels by 2030.


Best Practices to Consider

Understanding and implementing best practices for methane leak detection and management is crucial for oil and gas sites to  mitigate environmental impact, ensure regulatory compliance, and maintain operational efficiency. These measures enable sites to promptly detect and address methane leaks, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing safety.

  • Leverage Advanced Technologies: Utilize advanced monitoring technologies such as remote sensing and continuous monitoring systems to enhance the speed and accuracy of methane leak detection.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on evolving regulatory standards and ensure monitoring configurations align with the latest requirements for proactive compliance.
  • Strategic Sensor and/or Camera Placement: Position sensors and/or cameras strategically in critical areas within sites to maximize coverage and efficiently detect potential methane leak sources.
  • Regular Calibration: Ensure sensors are regularly calibrated to maintain accuracy and reliability in methane emissions detection.
  • Comprehensive Documentation: Maintain detailed records of monitoring data, including detection events, responses, and corrective actions, to facilitate regulatory reporting and internal audits.
  • Periodic System Audits: Conduct regular audits of monitoring systems to identify and address issues promptly, optimizing performance and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Personnel Training: Provide regular training to personnel involved in monitoring processes to ensure proficiency and consistency, contributing to effective emissions management and regulatory adherence.


Available Monitoring Technologies

The oil and gas industry has access to a variety of monitoring technologies for detecting methane emissions and managing environmental impact. Here are a few examples:

  • Laser-Based Sensors: Uses laser technology to detect methane concentrations in the atmosphere, providing accurate measurements even at low concentrations.
  • Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS): Measures methane concentrations by analyzing the absorption of laser light at specific wavelengths, offering high sensitivity and precision.
  • Continuous Infrared Cameras: Uses proprietary spectroscopic imaging to provide actionable insight with colorized images of gas plumes, along with the process equipment. Kuva's shortwave infrared (SWIR) GCI360 camera quickly and accurately reveals the presence of methane.
  • Remote Sensing: Involves the use of satellites, drones, or aircraft equipped with methane sensors to detect emissions over large areas, providing comprehensive monitoring capabilities.
  • Continuous Methane Monitoring Systems (CMMS): Offers continuous monitoring of methane emissions from industrial sources, providing real-time data for regulatory compliance and emissions management.
  • Fixed Gas Detection Systems: Installed at specific locations within sites to continuously monitor methane levels, providing early warning of leaks and facilitating prompt mitigation efforts.
  • Optical Gas Imaging (OGI): Uses infrared cameras to visualize methane and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions, allowing for real-time detection of leaks.
  • Portable Gas Detectors: Handheld devices used for on-site methane monitoring during inspections or leak detection surveys, offering flexibility and mobility for targeted monitoring.


Sensible EDP Software

Montrose Environmental Group’s established expertise combined with the Sensible EDP platform, offers comprehensive solutions for air monitoring, incorporating diverse sensor and hardware options to detect and monitor regulated air pollutants. We provide integration with existing operations and platforms to ensure that our services complement your current environment. By effectively identifying, quantifying, and repairing leaks, and documenting leak-free periods, you’ll mitigate reputational risk and provide assurance to ESG investors, regulators, and the public.

  • Protection against 3rd party fly-over detections.
  • Realize ROI in the first 6 months through reductions in lost product and manual processes, improved process safety, and proactive compliance.
  • Protect your reputation and mitigate risk associated with consent decrees, potential methane fees, and designated super emitter status.
  • Quantify emission data in terms of mass per unit time. This allows for precise assessment and tracking of emission reduction improvements within the Sensible EDP dashboards.
  • OGI and continuous real time monitoring, integrated with Sensible EDP's real-time data platform, replaces less-frequent manual LDAR and aerial observations with automated, comprehensive coverage.
  • Integrate data from multiple third-party sensors, flyovers, drones, open-path technology, OGI, and LDAR, into one platform. Get site-level emission quantification to enhance data precision with Sensible EDP's centralized system.
  • Streamline data management and reporting for EPA and OGMP compliance.


Learn more about our Methane Monitoring solutions at or visit our website at Ready to see the platform? Schedule a demo with one of our experts today.