The Obama administration recently announced forthcoming standards for methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources, despite saying “voluntary efforts to reduce emissions in a comprehensive and transparent manner hold the potential to realize significant reductions in a quick, flexible, cost-effective way.”
The natural gas industry has already dramatically reduced methane emissions even as production and use have soared. New regulations will take too much time and yield too few benefits, compared with a collaborative approach.
Because methane is the product we sell there is great motivation to capture as much as possible. Innovations have led to safer, faster, more efficient and less costly methods of production, allowing our nation to enjoy the environmental, economic and energy security benefits of this abundant, domestic resource.
Industry has already worked with the EPA on regulation to require reduced emission, or “green”, completions to capture natural gas at the wellhead, which reduce methane emissions by 99 percent. The Energy Information Administration and EPA credit increased natural gas use for a significant portion of the 10 percent reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2013 compared to 2005.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers also found that emissions of sulfur dioxide have dropped by 44 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 40 percent since 1997 due to the increased use of natural gas combined cycles in power generation. Our air is cleaner today because of natural gas and industry is committed to making even greater progress.
Adding another complex and uncertain layer of federal regulation threatens to slow significant progress toward the shared objectives of a cleaner environment and a growing economy and is simply unnecessary to meet our goals. Current regulation, industry innovation and collaboration will pave the way for greater reductions more quickly than new regulation, allowing us to take better advantage of America’s clean, abundant and affordable natural gas resource.
Yes, the natural gas industry has made progress in reducing pollutants and methane. I believe its collaboration with environmental and business groups in the state of Colorado has also generated a solid set… Read more »
The question has been framed as … avoiding government regulation that is destined to slow economic growth. As an advocate for clean air, clean water and product pricing that includes… Read more »
Industry, with the help of EDF, has come a long way to identifying the sources of fugitive methane (Allen et al at UT, Austin). This falls in two buckets: at… Read more »
A few numbers would be helpful. What was the methane release in 2014 from industry activities expressed as kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (using a factor of 21 to make… Read more »
It is true that methane is a commercial product and that producers thus have some incentive to take steps to recapture it and avoid wasting it. And going to green… Read more »
As other have noted above, industry incentives to eliminate methane gas emissions are far below the social costs of these emissions. A few points: Of course, “green completions” are a… Read more »
Top Methane Studies Confirm Low and Dramatically Declining Emissions There have been a number of landmark methane studies published recently that have made a significant contribution to our understanding of… Read more »
Katie: A Stanford study last year concluded: “The first thorough comparison of evidence for natural gas system leaks confirms that organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have underestimated U.S.… Read more »
Katie: The claim that emissions are going down is flatly and unequivocally wrong. EPA’s latest inventory released in April reports that in 2013 the oil and gas industry released more… Read more »
Mark, I don’t see where Katie was wrong. It looks to me like the EPA says she’s right that emissions are way down since 2005, just as you are right… Read more »
In January, the White House announced a new goal of cutting dangerous methane pollution from the oil and gas industry 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, and set in… Read more »
A little discussed impact, so far, of these fugitive emissions is their costs to the American taxpayer. When companies release natural gas into the atmosphere through venting, flaring, and leaking,… Read more »
Erica Bowman is right that companies have a strong economic incentive, but too few are capitalizing on it. And she is right that federal performance standards – also known as… Read more »
It’s great to see this debate. Thanks to everyone who is participating and reading along. To be clear, I am not arguing against any and all regulation. Indeed my prior… Read more »
I wish I could agree with Erica Bowman but having worked in the oil and gas industry 15 years as an exploration geologist I tend to agree with Mark Brownstein… Read more »