World Must ‘Tighten Valves’ on Methane Emissions

Topics: Tight gas/shale gas/coalbed methane
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

01 April 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 4