A new study of methane emissions from unconventional natural gas production was released on June 4, 2012, contradicting the estimates found by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study, entitled “Characterizing Pivotal Sources of Methane Emissions from Unconventional Natural Gas Production,” was conducted by URS Corporation and The LEVON Group and sponsored by America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). The results state that the EPA’s overall estimate of methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing of unconventional natural gas wells is vastly overstated.
According to an ANGA press release published the same day as the study, “methane emissions from natural gas operations such as liquids unloading (a technique used to remove water and other liquids from the wellbore to improve the flow of natural gas) are 86 percent lower than EPA estimated” – obviously a huge differentiation. ANGA goes on to state that their percentages are much lower in other areas, too: “methane emissions from refractured wells (a technique used to prolong production of an existing gas-producing well) are 72 percent lower than EPA estimates.”
This new study sheds light on the inflated estimates of the EPA study. It is also interesting to note, ANGA’s study had a sample size of U.S. natural gas-producing wells that was “more than 10 times larger than EPA's.” This gives their study added credibility and accuracy when compared to EPA’s. Overall, ANGA finds that “greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas production are as much as 50 percent lower than figures used by EPA."
Click here to read the full study.