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Study: Methane emissions from natural gas production are lower than previously estimated

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2013 – A major field study by the University of Texas and sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and natural gas producers found that methane emissions from development of natural gas and associated liquid resources represent only 0.42 percent of total production. The findings show the industry’s efforts to reduce emissions are working, according to API Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman.

“The industry has led efforts to reduce emissions of methane by developing new technologies and equipment, and these efforts are paying off,” Feldman said. “This latest study shows that methane emissions are a fraction of estimates from just a few years ago. The industry will continue to make substantial progress to reduce emissions voluntarily and in compliance with EPA’s recent emissions standards. Capturing methane is helping operators deliver more natural gas to consumers, creating a built-in incentive to continue reducing these emissions.”

Feldman said that additional regulation on top of existing federal, state and local regulations are not necessary. The study found that the emissions measured at wells during the completion phase are, on average, nearly 50 times lower than previously estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Total emissions are also lower than EPA’s latest estimate, which had already been drastically reduced from previous estimates.

“The oil and natural gas revolution has been one of the few bright spots in our economic recovery, driving unprecedented job growth, providing Americans with affordable energy, and helping to reduce emissions,” Feldman said. “In fact, safe and responsible development of energy from shale has helped the U.S. cut CO2 emission to near 20-year lows.”

API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 550 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.
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