A newly released study by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) reveals that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing are at least 50% less than what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had originally calculated. This study takes the “most comprehensive look to date at the issue, analyzing data from nearly 20% of all U.S. natural gas-producing wells – a sample size more than 10 times larger than EPA’s,” according to the ANGA press release.
Greenhouse gas emissions are up to 86% lower than estimated by the EPA. ANGA Executive Vice President Tom Amontree calls the EPA’s estimates “vastly exaggerated.” “It is our hope that all stakeholders who aim for credible, science-based decision making and dialogue will take note of these findings and more fully consider the vast potential of this cleaner American energy source,” says Amontree.
The study also found that methane emissions from refractured wells are 72% lower than EPA estimates. The study was taken after EPA, in 2011, introduced some new calculation systems for estimating the amount of methane emissions from natural gas operations. “For both power generation and transportation, natural gas is a far cleaner alternative,” says Amontree. “This study confirms for policymakers and the public that the production process does not negate those benefits,” he added.
API Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director Howard Feldman was also pleased with the results. “Our new report provides the best, most comprehensive estimate of methane emissions for U.S. natural gas production,” says Feldman. “The API-ANGA emissions estimate, which is half EPA’s estimate, is more accurate because it’s based on emissions from 91,000 wells operated by 20 wells,” continued Feldman.
Inaccurate reports like the one from EPA do not help the Shale industry’s case, with all of the controversy already surrounding Shale drilling. Natural gas producers are committed to developing abundant American natural gas safely and responsibly. Safety measures are taken to ensure protection of the environment, improve air quality, as well as to create jobs and promote U.S. energy security. What can now be made obviously clear from this new study is that natural gas producers are clearly working to make sure that our environment is well-protected, particularly as it relates to air quality limiting overall emissions. Hopefully, as science continues to advance, and time progesses, more studies revealing more realistic numbers and percentages will become available to the public.