May 1, 2013
On 28 April 2013, the Associated Press reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much methane, a potent heat-trapping gas, leaks during natural gas production. EPA’s move is a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?
Oil and gas drilling companies had pushed for the change, but there have been differing scientific estimates of the amount of methane that leaks from wells, pipelines and other facilities during production and delivery.
The new EPA data is “kind of an earthquake” in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental group based in Oakland, CA.. “This is great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks.”
The scope of the EPA’s revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That’s about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.
What this means to you
Lower methane level leaks from gas drilling operations, especially those using fracking, will boost the idea of natural gas as an alternative or bridge fuel that lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Reliable and low cost natural gas supplies may become more interesting as a primary fuel source for transportation and power generation.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to discuss how our catalysts and control technologies further improve emissions from diesel and natural gas engines for drilling and compression operations.