The Center, founded in 1985, is an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing human, animal and plant ecologies, promoting the efficient use of natural resources and expanding participation in the environmental movement.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Natural Gas Industry Leaking Methane & Profits
The U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Can Reduce Pollution, Conserve Resources, and Make Money by Preventing Methane
Methane makes up as much as 90 percent of natural gas, a fossil fuel used extensively in the United States to produce electricity, heat buildings, and fuel factories and vehicles. Currently, when natural gas is extracted by hydraulic fracturing or other techniques, significant amounts of methane are wasted: from wells during the extraction process, from processing equipment while compressing or drying gas, and from poorly sealed equipment while transporting and storing it. In fact, at least 2 to 3 percent of all natural gas produced by the U.S. oil and gas industry is lost to leaks or vented into the atmosphere each year.
Since methane is a global warming pollutant at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, methane pollution accelerates and magnifies climate change. Preventing the leakage and venting of methane from natural gas facilities would reduce pollution, enhance air quality, improve human health, and conserve energy resources. The oil and gas industry can afford methane control technologies. Indeed, capturing currently wasted methane for sale could bring in more than $2 billion of additional revenue each year. Technically proven, commercially available, and profitable methane emission control technologies can capture more than 80 percent of the methane currently going to waste. (NRDC)