BP Ventures invests $5m in Satelytics to spot methane leaks

By Robert Scammell

BP Ventures, the investment arm of BP, has invested $5m in geospatial analytics company Satelytics to help the oil and gas giant spot methane leaks.

Satelytics uses machine learning to analyse spectral imagery gathered by satellites, drones and planes to detect changes in the environment.

These changes create a “unique” electromagnetic signature, which Satelytics presents as a visual representation on an interactive display.

The aim is to take remedial action in the event of a methane leak much sooner and measure reductions in methane emissions more accurately. Traditionally, detecting methane leaks in oil fields required expensive and time-consuming fieldwork. When methane is released into the environment before it is burned it contributes to the greenhouse effect that is driving global heating.

Satelytics, based in Ohio, counts engineering firm Ramboll and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company among its customers.

BP’s investment forms part of the multinational’s goal to become a net zero carbon emitter by 2050.

The company said it aims to install methane measurement capabilities at all its major oil and gas processing sites by 2023. This will be to measure the base level of methane in its current operations so that it can work towards cutting methane levels by 50%.

“Satelytics is modernising the energy sector by making data about physical assets more accessible and digestible, leading to better decision making,” said Morag Watson, BP senior vice president of digital science and engineering.

“We are excited to work closely alongside their unique team of scientists and technologists to help them evolve their technology and to continue to move the needle on industry digitalisation.”

Sean Donegan, chief executive of Satelytics, said: “BP’s early use of our detection and quantification software has inspired us to expand our capabilities. bp’s investment marks an inflexion point for Satelytics, which will assist us in expanding our technological capabilities and fuel future innovation.”

BP Ventures has invested over $500m into more than 40 companies to help it meet its net zero goal.

Read more: Existing satellites key to monitoring ocean carbon levels, study finds