Methane detection by satellite

A subsidiary of Encino Environmental Services has acquired exclusive rights to data from all orbits that cover North America and parts of South America to monitor for methane leaks.

From left to right: Juan Tomas Hernani, CEO at the SATLANTIS Group, Scott McCurdy, CEO at Encino Environmental Services, and Aitor Morinigo, CEO at SATLANTIS LLC.

Under the agreement, Encino has acquired exclusive rights to data from all orbits that cover North America and parts of South America from the SATLANTIS GEISAT-Precursor (GEISAT) satellite, which was launched in June 2023.

They will monitor assets across various sectors including oil & gas, biogas, landfills, and power infrastructure. It involves processing the retrieved imagery, delivering high-resolution visual imagery, and reporting any potential observed emission events to Encino customers.

“The SATLANTIS solution for high-resolution visual monitoring combined with methane detection is extremely unique,” said Scott McCurdy, CEO of Encino Environmental Services.

McCurdy added that customer response has been positive. Using the service allows them to reduce waste emissions charges and fines, and reduce the risk of reputational damage from leaks. In addition, many companies have joined global initiatives such as OGMP 2.0, and this will provide another tool for those efforts.

The announcement of this agreement has been followed closely by the confirmation of the successful launch of GEISAT’s twin system HORACIO on March 4, 2024 from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This accomplishment completes the third satellite placed in orbit by SATLANTIS as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-10 program, and the sixth mission in space that the company has under its belt now.

This system has ride shared together with MethaneSAT, an emissions satellite sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Under a US$90M project, this 660-pound satellite aims to monitor methane emissions globally at a 100-meter resolution, compared to the less than 45-pound weight satellite with 13-meter resolution imagery (in the methane detection band) that GEISAT is capable of capturing.

The technology developed by SATLANTIS enables upstream producers and midstream oil and gas companies to enhance their emissions reporting capabilities and accuracy. This satellite will allow clients to identify leaks that might not be seen otherwise or are not frequently monitored as they can see a wider area than traditional methods such as plane or drone flyovers.

As an example, using this satellite technology, SATLANTIS can accurately scan and map approximately 10,000 miles of pipeline in under ten minutes of total combined scanning time, something unachievable with traditional satellite technology. This is due to the satellite’s ability to scan sideways, which not only offers unprecedented maneuvering capabilities and advanced monitoring strategies but also improves the revisitation frequency on those assets, making it up to ten times more efficient than average satellite systems.

Additionally, SATLANTIS satellites and cameras combine visible and near infrared data (VNIR), and short-wave infrared data (SWIR) to be used in a variety of applications. The SATLANTIS iSIM-90 camera, which is the telescope included within the GEISAT satellite, boasts a spatial resolution of 2 meters in the visible and near-infrared bands and 13 meters for methane detection bands. This doubles the spatial resolution that other similar satellites have to offer.

The major upside to these features is that SATLANTIS’ cameras can identify pipelines, see point-source emissions that are otherwise invisible to alternative space sensors, and surveil job sites for security, with unprecedented detail. Not only can this technology enhance and complement methane regulatory monitoring efforts, but it can also contribute to reducing safety risks, providing frequent visual monitoring for encroachments and vegetation health, and decreasing personnel costs.

“We thank Encino for their confidence in SATLANTIS and commitment to our mission. Their strategic investment since 2022 has helped develop this technology jointly and culminated in one of the largest single contracts for methane monitoring announced today. We are ready to jointly serve the American industry with the best technology available today,” said Juan Tomás Hernani, CEO of SATLANTIS.