The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

More Good News on Methane Emissions

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 30, 2014

Some talk – some take to the streets – pushing for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The oil and natural gas industry is actually doing it. New EPA data supports:

  • Methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems decreased 12 percent since 2011.
  • The largest reductions come from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells – down 73 percent since 2011.
  • Industry’s overall greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) decreased 1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.

EPA’s table:

epa 

The data points to important conclusions: First, emissions reductions have come when oil and natural gas development has increased during the ongoing U.S. energy revolution – consistent with this chart from Energy In Depth we shared last week:

eid_smaller 

Second, emissions cuts are being led by reductions from natural gas development using advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. API’s Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs:

“We’re proud to see our industry’s efforts demonstrated in EPA data that show emissions are far lower than EPA projected just a few years ago, even as U.S. production has surged. Creating good-paying jobs and growing the economy go hand in hand with our efforts to reduce emissions both voluntarily and in compliance with EPA emissions standards that take effect in January.”

The emissions reductions underscore industry’s commitment to cleaner, greener operations. Technologies and initiatives aimed at capturing emissions at the wellhead, called green completions, obviously are working. Feldman:

“Thanks in large part to innovations like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, America is leading the world in producing natural gas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Industry will continue to be a leader in environmental stewardship as it maintains our country’s leadership position as the top producer of natural gas.”

To be clear: GHG emissions from oil and natural gas production – including methane emissions – are falling thanks to new technologies and a continued commitment to achieve them. Hydraulic fracturing isn’t the obstacle to progress on GHG – it’s actually leading emissions reductions.

Clean-burning natural gas is fueling America. And as the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas, America can provide energy for our friends around the globe – if government gets out of the way of privately financed projects to export liquefied natural gas (LNG).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.