US Oil and Gas Methane leaks are 60% higher than EPA estimate

Published: 25 Jun 2018 By Grace Kimberley

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The Environmental Defense Fund and a group of university scientists have discovered that US Oil and Gas-related methane emissions stand at 13 million metric tonnes- a 60% increase on the Environmental Protection Agency’s initial estimate.

This revelation means the US is losing approximately $2billion a year from more than 400 drilling and processing facilities, which are prone to leaks and other technical issues.

“These studies have transformed our understanding of methane emissions from natural gas systems in the United States,” said David Allen, an oil and gas expert representing the University of Texas, as well as an author of the paper.

Methane, one of the most crucial components in natural gas, is a big culprit of greenhouse gas emissions, with over 80 times more impact on global warming than carbon dioxide. Researchers at EDF discovered that 2.3 percent of methane produced leaks into the atmosphere.

The researchers also found that this total loss of gas would (if contained) be enough to power 10 million homes in the US.

Steven Hamburg, chief scientist at EDF said: “It amounts to a huge problem, but also an enormous opportunity,” and claimed to believe the sector’s methane leaks could be “the fastest, most cost-effective way we have to slow the rate of warming today.”

 

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