During Natural Gas Production, Up To 9% Of The Methane Is Farted Into The Atmosphere.

Pulling my own finger methane releasing natural gas wells.Just as we were breaking up with dirty coal and starting a new cleaner relationship with natural gas comes news of a gas problem. It turns out the process of capturing natural gas is not as efficient as we thought and that 4-9% of the methane we fracture from the ground is released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. From Nature:

“The researchers, who hold joint appointments with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado in Boulder, first sparked concern in February 2012 with a study suggesting that up to 4% of the methane produced at a field near Denver was escaping into the atmosphere.

Industry officials and some scientists contested the claim, but at an American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, California, last month, the research team reported new Colorado data that support the earlier work, as well as preliminary results from a field study in the Uinta Basin of Utah suggesting even higher rates of methane leakage — an eye-popping 9% of the total production. That figure is nearly double the cumulative loss rates estimated from industry data — which are already higher in Utah than in Colorado.”

How do we fix the gas problem? According to the Nature article, the EPA issued standards in April 2012 to reduce the amount of air pollution created during the natural gas extraction process. What can you do now? Consume less. [Nature via e360]