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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A growing body of research that suggests the EPA is gravely underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas operations

"The methane emissions from the gas wells ... are surprisingly high considering that all of these wells were still being drilled, had not yet been hydraulically fractured, and were not yet in production," the paper reports.


                 Gas well in Lawrence County....nice bucolic scene.

"Natural gas drilling is emitting far higher levels of methane into the atmosphere than federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency have said, according to the findings of a new study released Monday. "We identified a significant regional flux of methane over a large area of shale gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania in the Marcellus formation and further identified several pads with high methane emissions," said the report, conducted by a team of scientists led by Purdue University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While past EPA studies have said gas well sites emit as little as between 0.04 and 0.30 grams of methane per second, this new study found numbers between 100 to 1,000 times higher than what the EPA has calculated, with levels closer to 34 grams of methane per second at some of the Pennsylvania sites. Methane is up to 30 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Of particular curiosity for the research team was the fact that the highest levels of methane were coming from well sites that were being preliminarily drilled for production, but had not yet gone through the controversial gas production process known as fracking."

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/04/15-4