World Must ‘Tighten Valves’ on Methane Emissions

Photo courtesy of Ole JØrgen Bratland, Statoil.
As facilities construction catches up to drilling activity in the Bakken shale, Statoil hopes to outfit its 16 rigs with bi-fuel systems, achieving a daily cost reduction of USD 48,000/day.

The importance of reducing emissions of methane, a short-lasting but powerful atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG), received close attention from panelists at an IHS CERAWeek strategic dialogue, Tightening the Valves on Global Methane Emissions.

A frequently asked question is “why all this focus on methane,” said Mark Brownstein, vice president for climate and energy at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “Isn’t the issue carbon dioxide [CO2]? Actually, it’s both.”

Methane emissions remain in the atmosphere for much less time than CO2 but are a far more powerful pollutant while they last. “It’s thought that 25% of the warming that we’re experiencing right now on the planet is because of methane emissions,” Brownstein said. “A 45% reduction in oil and gas industry methane emissions would have the same impact over 20 years as closing one-third of the world’s coal [-fired power] plants.”

Throughout Supply Chain

Methane emissions occur throughout the natural gas supply chain, in many cases coming from older equipment and leaks across the system, Brownstein noted. A recent EDF study estimated that methane emissions in the Barnett Shale of north Texas are 90% higher than previously estimated in the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inventory, he said.

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World Must ‘Tighten Valves’ on Methane Emissions

Joel Parshall, JPT Features Editor

19 March 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 4

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