Monday, April 29, 2013

EPA Revises Estimates of Fugitive Methane from Drilling Downward

This month, the EPA significantly reduced its estimate of the quantities of methane escaping during natural gas drilling.  So-called fugitive methane has been a big complaint of environmentalists since methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon.  In an April report on greenhouse emissions, the EPA said that emissions have been reduced by about 20% from earlier estimates because of improved pollution controls.  Expect more progress in this area in the future.

This news is hardly unexpected, as more recent studies (also here) have revealed that the problem exposed by the bombshell study by Cornell professor and shale gas critic Robert Howarth may have been overblown to begin with.  If nothing else, it's a fixable (or at least improvable) problem.

Ultimately, this is a no brainer for the gas industry.  Fugitive methane emissions are 1) bad press, 2) lost revenue and 3) the result of shoddy field practices.  Fixing the problem is a win-win-win.  Expect more stories like this in the future as better practices and improved technology conspire to repair a very fixable problem.


Anonymous said...

next their will a "fart tax" implemented to those who have gas.

Robert Hutchinson said...

Not a bad idea. I might take it another step and suggest a "hot air tax" for pundits on TV and radio who just can't shut up. Perhaps they don't emit as much methane as a belching cow, but they foul the air just the same.