The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Methane Regulations Not Based on Science

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted March 30, 2016

Methane emissions have dropped significantly. Since 2005, emissions from field production of natural gas have dropped 38 percent, and emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have plunged 79 percent.

API natural gas output and methane from output

These facts bear repeating in light of the Obama administration’s announcement that it is pursuing yet another set of methane regulations. Not only are the additional regulations duplicative and unnecessary, given industry’s success in reducing emissions under current regulations, but the new rules could actually undermine progress.

The hydraulic fracturing-driven shale energy revolution is a primary reason the U.S. leads the world in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Greater availability of clean-burning natural gas has helped drive down carbon emissions for power generation and has lowered utility costs for families and businesses. Costly new regulations that discourage shale energy production put all those benefits at risk.


Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and producers prioritize capturing it for delivery to consumers to heat homes and generate clean-burning electricity. We can expect emissions will continue to drop as operators implement additional innovative technologies.

Considering the success the industry as already achieved in reducing methane emissions, it’s hard to see this move as anything other than regulating for the sake of regulating.


Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.