Greenhouse gases are having a harder time escaping from American drilling operations, according to a new report out this week. The Hill reports:
Leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, now represent 0.38 percent of production volumes, according to the study released Tuesday…That is 10 percent lower than what the same University of Texas research team found in September 2013. […]The study came about three months after an annual report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing fell 73 percent from 2011 to 2013. […]“Study after study shows that industry-led efforts to reduce emissions through investments in new technologies and equipment are paying off,” Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement.
The report, sponsored by both the American Petroleum Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund, is a bright bit of news, though the leakage of methane—a far more potent, if more short-lived, greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—is still a problem for the booming American natural gas industry.Remember, though, that the methane escaping from drilling operations isn’t just harmful to the environment; it also cuts into producers’ bottom line. That economic incentive will continue to help them address the methane leakage problem.