According to a study led by Colorado State University, the vast majority of natural gas and processing facilities have methane leak rates of less than 1%. The study examined 114 gathering facilities and 16 processing plants across 13 US states.
Howard Feldman, API Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs said, “the industry has every incentive to reduce emissions and sell more natural gas to consumers. We’re making remarkable progress reducing emissions, and this progress will continue as operators detect and seal leaks, including leaks from the few high emitting sites identified in the study. Burdensome new regulations would only interfere with our progress reducing emissions and jeopardise production of the clean burning natural gas that has helped drive US carbon emissions to near 20 year lows.”
According to the study, of 130 facilities the study examined, 101 had methane loss rates below 1%. Methane emissions from oil and gas production declined by 38% from 2005 and 2012, and methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have plummeted 73% since 2011, according to EPA data.
A major field study by the University of Texas, which was sponsored by the Environmental Defence Fund and natural gas producers in 2014 found that methane emissions from development and production of natural gas are down 10% from what the same research team found a year earlier and now represent only 0.38% of production.
Feldman continued, “EPA’s own analysis shows that new methane regulations announced by the Obama administration are unnecessary in view of the dramatic progress the oil and natural gas industry is already making in reducing emissions. New regulations on methane emissions may score positive headlines and political points, but they may also undermine President Obama’s overall climate goals, as well as job creating energy development. Regulatory policy should be based on science, not politics.”
Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd