Energy Exchange

Super-emitters Are Real: Here Are Three Things We Know

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As part of our landmark 16-study series and ongoing work in measuring methane emissions, we previously published a paper that compared and reconciled top-down (airborne-based measurements ) with bottom-up (emissions inventory, using ground-based measurements) emissions.

This paper found that 1% of natural gas production sites accounted for 44% of total emissions from all sites, or 10% of sites 80% of emissions; emission estimates were based on facility-wide (site-based) measurements. Sites or equipment that produce disproportionate shares of total emissions are often called “super-emitters”. A big question that remained was what caused some sites to become a super-emitter; this remained a “black box” without additional knowledge about which components or operational conditions within a site could trigger the high-emissions.

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Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Cautionary Tale for Mexico on Oil and Gas Climate Pollution

 

splash-with-citationNew findings by NASA scientists attributing a giant, invisible cloud of methane – nearly 5 times the size of Mexico City – over the southwestern U.S. to the region’s sprawling web of oil and gas facilities raise important new concerns not just on this side of the border, but for Mexico as well.

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. Scientists estimate that methane contributes to about 25 percent of today’s warming. Cleaning up methane also reduces other pollutants: both ozone precursors that affect air quality and air toxics that erode human health.

The recent NASA paper linking the methane cloud to production, processing and distribution of oil and natural gas also notes that just a small portion of these sites, about 10%, were responsible for more than half the emissions. This is just the most recent example of a long list of scientific studies that have found that subset of sites or facilities disproportionately account for the majority of emissions. Scientists have called this subset of sites super-emitters. Read More »

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Una Clara Advertencia Para México Acerca de la Contaminación Climática de su Industria Petrolera


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Un estudio publicado recientemente por científicos de la NASA contribuyó a encontrar al responsable de una gran nube invisible de metano extendiéndose en el suroeste de los Estados Unidos y cuyo tamaño es 5 veces más grande que la Ciudad de México. El estudio permitió atribuir este foco de emisiones a la creciente red de instalaciones de la industria petrolera en dicha región – Este descubrimiento levanta preocupaciones no solo para nuestros vecinos del norte, sino también para México.

El metano es un gas de efecto invernadero extremadamente potente. En los primeros veinte años después de ser emitido, el metano es más de 80 veces más potente en calentar la atmosfera que el dióxido de carbono. Los científicos estiman que el metano contribuye aproximadamente a 25% del calentamiento que ya experimentamos hoy en día. En adición a sus implicaciones climáticas, reducir sus emisiones también permite reducir otros contaminantes que se emiten en conjunto con el metano: tanto precursores de ozono que afectan la calidad del aire, como tóxicos que afectan la salud humana. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, General, Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged , | Comments are closed