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KAPSARC and Kayrros Unveil Saudi Arabia’s Methane Emission Landscape Using Satellite Technology

KAPSARC and Kayrros Unveil Saudi Arabia's Methane Emission Landscape Using Satellite Technology

KAPSARC and Kayrros Unveil Saudi Arabia’s Methane Emission Landscape Using Satellite Technology

  • KAPSARC and Kayrros leverage satellite technology to publish estimates of greenhouse gas emissions in Saudi Arabia over the past several years, marking the first-ever practice of its kind in the Kingdom.
  • Blending KAPSARC’s knowledge of Saudi Arabia’s energy sector with Kayrros’ geoanalytic capabilities, the project estimated methane emissions from the Kingdom’s oil and gas sector at 780 kilotons in 2022—only a quarter of the figures reported by the IEA and EDGAR for the same year.
  • This joint effort underscores a commitment to advancing our understanding of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly elusive methane emissions.

Dubai, December 7 – In an innovative collaboration, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) and Kayrros have published the first-ever measurements of elusive methane emissions in Saudi Arabia using novel satellite technology, covering the years 2016-2022. The study also covered carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions for the same period.

KAPSARC’s recently launched discussion paper titled ‘Using Satellite Technology to Measure Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Saudi Arabia’ by Anwar Gasim, Walid Matar and Abdelrahman Muhsen highlights how the two organizations leveraged NASA’s and the European Space Agency’s state-of-the-art satellites* to estimate methane emissions from Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas sector at approximately 780 kilotons in 2022. This new data positions Saudi Arabia as having the second-lowest methane intensity in oil and gas production when compared to other oil-producing countries, second only to Norway.

The project takes on an added significance given the limited global sources providing methane inventories for Saudi Arabia and their diverging estimates. Notably, the emission estimates developed by KAPSARC and Kayrros are approximately 73% lower than those reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) for the same year.

Fahad Alajlan, President of KAPSARC, emphasized that ‘this stark difference underscores the groundbreaking nature of our findings, challenging existing norms and emphasizing the importance of our innovative approach in redefining our understanding of emissions in Saudi Arabia.’

Furthermore, the project estimates reveal that methane emissions from Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry constitute only one-third of total methane emissions, aligning with the most recent national greenhouse gas inventory submitted by the Saudi Clean Development Mechanism Designated National Authority in 2022. 

Antoine Rostand, co-founder and President at Kayrros, said:

‘It is within our power as a global community to reduce methane emissions dramatically. Our data shows this conclusively.

‘Producers should strive to emulate the Saudi model, introducing strong methane regulations to limit emissions of this potent greenhouse gas and using independent, verifiable and reliable data to guide action.

‘We’re pleased to be working with KAPSARC to advance the collective understanding of methane emissions and to be involved in this first-of-its-kind practice.’

The satellite estimates for the Saudi oil and gas sector only pertain to oil and gas fields, including emissions from production and partially accounting for the transportation of hydrocarbons and processing of gas occurring within the vicinity of the fields. Operations situated further downstream were excluded from the analysis.

The results carry important policy implications for Saudi decision-makers, given that Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the Global Methane Pledge which aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% globally by 2030. Better information on Saudi emissions can guide more effective climate actions. For example, in Saudi Arabia, satellite-based estimation results point to the importance of tackling methane emissions from the waste sectors.

KAPSARC and Kayrros will present the project at COP28 in Dubai on Sunday, December 10, 2023, during a side-event session titled ‘Satellite Technology for Measuring and Tracking GHG Emissions’ from 2:00 PM to 2:45 PM in the blue zone, building 88, second floor, shared presentation stage 3. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be livestreamed.

KAPSARC’s discussion paper is available for download here.

* Note, data from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite was used for methane emissions estimates and super-emitter detections. ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite was used for super-emitters (not measurement) and for the CO2 estimates. NASA’s Landsat 8/9 was used for the N2O estimates.

About KAPSARC:

KAPSARC is a leading advisory think tank dedicated to advancing knowledge on energy, environment, and regional economic issues. Accredited observer of UNFCCC, KAPSARC actively contributes to global climate action. The mission of KAPSARC is to advance Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and inform global policies through evidence-based advice and applied research. 

Recognized with the ‘OPEC Best Energy Research Institute Award’ in 2023, KAPSARC’s research spans three focus areas: global hydrocarbon markets, Saudi Arabia’s energy sector, and climate and sustainability. The center’s groundbreaking circular carbon economy report, adopted by the G20 in September 2020, exemplifies KAPSARC’s commitment to shaping impactful policies for a sustainable future. For more information visit https://www.kapsarc.org/  

About Kayrros:

Kayrros is a global environmental intelligence company and world leader in earth and asset observation technology. Kayrros collects data from satellite imagery and uses AI and geoanalytics technology to provide insights that help companies, investors and regulators reduce their emissions, protect people and assets from extreme weather events and accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy.


Kayrros has recently been named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential Companies by TIME, included on Fortune’s annual Change the World list, Fast Company Most Innovative Companies 2023 and is a winner of the Financial Times Tech Champions 2022. Kayrros has offices in Paris, Houston, New York, London, Bangalore and Singapore.


For more information visit www.kayrros.com

Media Contacts: 

Victoria Pearson (Kayrros)

+44 (0) 20 7183 1267

victoria@sonder-london.com

Loubaba Zantout (KAPSARC)

+966 554568731

Loubaba.zantout@kapsarc.org