Earlier this month, I reported on a study showing that methane emissions from Permian Basin fracking operations were quite high. Since that study acknowledged that there are reasons to think that methane emissions from the Permian Basin may be higher than from fracking elsewhere, it seemed worth noting that an EDF study published last week indicated that methane emissions from oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania (from both fracked wells and conventional wells) are 16 times greater than what has been reported to the Pennsylvania DEP. That’s a lot of methane.
I don’t know whether these results have been validated. However, according to EnergyWire (subscription required), “David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition oil and gas industry group, said operators have every incentive to capture and market natural gas, especially in the current, ‘historic’ low price environment.” That doesn’t sound like a denial to me. I don’t even understand it. Don’t operators have more incentive to capture and market methane when prices are high, rather than low?
In any case, the study only reemphasizes my original point – it’s important to accurately account for the life cycle GHG impacts of any kind of product or process, but particularly when the very purpose of the process is to extract GHG.
Two words to think about regarding methane emissions: Carbon Tax.