This post was update on February 10th.
A new study from the U.S. Department of Energy adds to the large and growing body of research on the problem of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Methane is both the main component of natural gas and a powerful climate pollutant – which is why regulators, scientists, and industry all have a vested interest in developing a more complete understanding of how much methane is emitted and from which sources.
Researchers with the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) used a life cycle model to integrate data from several of EDF’s methane studies, and estimated that 7.3 million metric tons of methane were emitted along the natural gas supply chain in 2012. This value is about 10% higher than the corresponding estimate in the 2016 EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI), although the difference was not statistically significant (the NETL confidence interval ranged from -20% to +30% of the central estimate). Read More
This post originally appeared on the EDF Voices blog.
Today, lawmakers are using the Congressional Review Act to dismantle common-sense energy policies that can save Americans hundreds of millions of dollars and prevent massive amounts of energy resources from being needlessly wasted.
The targeted policies from the Bureau of Land Management apply to oil and gas companies that operate on 245 million acres of federal and tribal lands. Since 2013, these operators have wasted more than $1.5 billion worth of natural gas that belongs to the American public, with millions in lost royalties as a result.
That comes to more than $1 million every day – hardly what President Trump had in mind when he promised to maximize our natural resources. Read More
California’s Air Resource Board (ARB) recently released a strong and likely final draft of new regulations that will reduce methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas facilities across California.
Methane essentially is natural gas — wasting it is tantamount to wasting an energy resource. California producers report losing about 75,000 metric tons of methane every year, while nationally companies on publicly owned lands reportedly waste more than $1 million worth of natural gas every day. Alongside methane, oil and gas facilities also emit a list of toxic pollution like hydrogen sulfide, toluene, xylene, and benzene, all of which can be harmful to public health. Read More
After months of speculation, the California agency in charge of setting standards for oil and gas operations (“DOGGR”) this week announced a pair of meetings to take public comment on the reopening of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility.
This development stems from legislation passed in 2016 (SB 380), and is expected to be among the final steps before Southern California Gas Corporation (SoCalGas) is allowed to restart limited use of the facility. So, while it’s critical for the state to get its decisions right for safety and near-term electric reliability related to Aliso, to fully comply with SB 380, the decisions being made also need to take into account the larger issues facing California today. Read More
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.