Follow me on Twitter: @JohnHQuigley

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New report supports low estimates of methane emissions from drilling

A new paper on methane emissions from natural gas production that was published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that estimates of methane escaping from gas drilling made by the Environmental Protection Agency are fairly accurate.  Indeed, the findings - the study is the most comprehensive done to date - suggest that they are 10% lower than EPA estimates - putting production-related methane emissions at 1.6-1.7% of production. That is far lower than some indirect studies of leakage that rang climate alarm bells.

Andy Revkin of The New York Times has written this extensive, must-read blog about the study.  I can add little - except to say that the latest results neither absolve the gas industry from further action nor diminish the case for stronger rules and tougher enforcement to minimize fugitive methane emissions from gas drilling - and throughout the value chain.  The results certainly validate the efficacy and importance of EPA's rule requiring green completions beginning in 2015. They should take effect earlier.  

This study is not the last word.  As Revkin notes, more studies are forthcoming.  They are essential, timely, and urgently important.  More data, and better, comprehensive monitoring techniques are needed to understand the issue and drive regulation, compliance, and enforcement.

No comments:

Post a Comment