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Ohio Utica Shale

Methane emissions less than half of what U.S. EPA had estimated, survey says

By Bob Downing Published: October 27, 2012

From the American Petroleum Institute:

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.

The survey is an updated version of the survey first released in June and uses the most recent company data.

API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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