Learning from Nighttime Observations of Gas Flaring in North Dakota for Better Decision and Policy Making

Rong Lu, Jennifer L. Miskimins, Mikhail Zhizhin
2021 Remote Sensing  
In today's oil industry, companies frequently flare the produced natural gas from oil wells. The flaring activities are extensive in some regions including North Dakota. Besides company-reported data, which are compiled by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, flaring statistics such as count and volume can be estimated via Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite nighttime observations. Following data gathering and preprocessing, Bayesian machine learning implemented with Markov chain Monte
more » ... Markov chain Monte Carlo methods is performed to tackle two tasks: flaring time series analysis and distribution approximation. They help further understanding of the flaring profiles and reporting qualities, which are important for decision/policy making. First, although fraught with measurement and estimation errors, the time series provide insights into flaring approaches and characteristics. Gaussian processes are successful in inferring the latent flaring trends. Second, distribution approximation is achieved by unsupervised learning. The negative binomial and Gaussian mixture models are utilized to describe the distributions of field flare count and volume, respectively. Finally, a nearest-neighbor-based approach for company level flared volume allocation is developed. Potential discrepancies are spotted between the company reported and the remotely sensed flaring profiles.
doi:10.3390/rs13050941 fatcat:6nlpn762jfartds76yrxummvpq