In its draft 2017 GHG inventory, published this week, the EPA estimates methane emissions from the oil and gas industry were lower than their previous estimate in the 2016 inventory.
The vast majority of the decrease comes from methodological changes in how EPA does these estimates and does not represent actual reductions from improved industry practices. We expect to see fluctuation in EPA estimates in future inventories as the agency continues to revise their accounting methods; this inventory should not be viewed as the final answer. But, to see the actual trend in emissions, you should compare 2015 emissions to their updated estimate of 2014 emissions, not the estimate from last year’s inventory. EPA estimates a mere 2% reduction in actual emissions, largely attributable to reduced drilling activity and well completions, which is a result of lower oil and gas prices in 2015. This points to the importance of recently enacted regulations, like the EPA NSPS and BLM rule, to drive the much greater reductions needed to minimize waste and the climate impacts of oil and gas. Read More
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This week sees the release of new figures from the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program (GHGRP), which includes self-reported, large facility-level emissions data for 2015.
The good news is that methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is down slightly, thanks to a combination of stronger safeguards starting to take effect, along with a decline in new drilling projects due to an overall market cooling.
Operators report that methane pollution from onshore oil and gas production is down about 3.8% in 2015 from 2014. However, overall greenhouse gas emissions from all reporting segments in the oil and gas sector are only down 1.6%.
Sensible methane standards are starting to work
Some in industry will undoubtedly point to the new numbers as evidence that new emission rules are unnecessary. In fact, the figures show that sensible safeguards are responsible for much of the progress. Read More
Methane emissions from the oil and gas industry are significantly higher than previous official estimates, according to draft revisions of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions inventory released Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency. At 9.3 million metric tons, revised estimates of 2013 emissions are 27% percent higher than the previous tally. Over a 20-year timeframe, those emissions have the same climate impact as over 200 coal-fired power plants. The lost gas is worth $1.4 billion at 2015 prices.
The big jump makes it crystal clear that there can be no more excuses for ignoring this huge challenge – not only controlling methane emissions from future sources, as proposed new EPA rules will do, but also controlling emissions from the tens of thousands of leaking facilities already operating now. Existing systems account for all of today’s emissions, and will generate the lion’s share of pollution for many years to come, yet federal rules so far don’t apply to them. Read More
The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its draft inventory of annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Reporting 2012 data, the inventory estimates methane emissions coming from natural gas and petroleum systems at around 7.6 million metric tons – that’s enough natural gas to provide energy to over 7 million homes annually. This new estimate when compared with last year’s report, which estimates emissions for the 2011 calendar year, shows overall methane emissions from natural gas and petroleum systems are 1.2 percent lower. Although this seems like good news, the new data is no cause for complacency, as it’s important to understand the cause of the changes which requires closer examination.
The draft inventory introduces some new methodological changes that reduce estimated emissions from previous years. The primary change was driven by the way EPA estimates emissions from gas well completions and workovers, the steps that follow hydraulic fracturing and clear liquids and sand from the well before production begins. Read More