Updated study: methane emissions from natural gas production are half EPA estimate
WASHINGTON, October 25, 2012 – Methane emissions from natural gas production were less than half what had been estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to an updated survey by URS prepared for The American Petroleum Institute (API) and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA).
“Industry has led efforts to reduce emissions of methane by developing new technologies and equipment, and these efforts are paying off,” said Howard Feldman, API director of regulatory and scientific affairs. “This report provides the best and most comprehensive estimate of methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production. It’s based on data from ten times as many wells as the estimates used by the EPA.”
The new emissions survey, which shows that actual methane emissions from natural gas production is 53 percent below EPA’s estimate, is based on emissions from 91,000 wells operated by 20 companies distributed over a broad geographic area. EPA’s data were derived from only 8,800 wells confined to specific areas not representative of the entire country. The report also estimates that venting of methane into the atmosphere during liquids unloading — a technique to remove water and other liquids from the wellbore to improve the flow of natural gas – is 93 percent lower than EPA’s estimates and that methane emissions from well re-fracturing are 72 percent lower.