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Energy Tomorrow Blog

The NY Times’ Hot Air on Methane

methane emissions  epa regulation  oil and natural gas development  greenhouse gas emission reduction  industry standards  hydraulic fracturing  horizontal drilling 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 26, 2014

The New York Times has an editorial urging Washington to regulate emissions of methane – no surprise as “The Gray Lady” has to uphold her “green” bonafides. But methane as an “overlooked” greenhouse gas, as the editorial’s headline states? Hardly.

While the Times may have just discovered methane, industry has been working to reduce emissions – and is succeeding, at a rate that casts doubt on the need for a new federal regulatory layer.

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What We Know on Methane: Falling Emissions

methane emissions  emission reductions  natural gas production  hydraulic fracturing  horizontal drilling  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 22, 2014

This from Judi Greenwald, the Energy Department’s deputy director for climate, environment and efficiency, talking about methane regulation during a panel discussion this week (as reported by Fuel Fix.com):

“We know enough to act. There are uncertainties about methane emissions — and part of the administration’s strategy is to improve our numbers — but we know enough to take some action, and this problem may be easier to solve than many characterize.”

While others talk about methane and problem solving, industry already is significantly lowering methane emissions – even as natural gas production soars, thanks to safe fracking.

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Years of Truth on Methane Emissions

methane emissions  greenhouse gases  regulation  epa  oil and natural gas development 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 7, 2014

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has a new piece that calls for federal regulation of methane emissions from oil and natural gas production and distribution. Reducing methane emissions is a good idea – and industry has been doing it for years – which makes talk of new regulatory regimes seem odd.

Voluntarily, industry efforts have reduced methane emissions from fracked natural gas wells 73 percent since 2011, according to recent EPA data. That’s actually a fantastic number – one that parallels EPA’s greenhouse gases inventory showing a nearly 40 percent decrease in overall methane emissions from 2006 to 2012 – while natural gas production grew 37 percent.

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More Good News on Methane Emissions

greenhouse gas emissions  methane emissions  oil and natural gas development  epa  hydraulic fracturing  horizontal drilling 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 30, 2014

Some talk – some take to the streets – pushing for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The oil and natural gas industry is actually doing it. New EPA data supports:

  • Methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems decreased 12 percent since 2011.
  • The largest reductions come from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells – down 73 percent since 2011.
  • Industry’s overall greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) decreased 1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.
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About What the President Said …

oil and natural gas development  safe operations  hydraulic fracturing  methane emissions  access  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 10, 2014

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s Sunday piece highlighted a conversation he had a few weeks ago with President Obama, during which the president talked about energy and climate change. A few things stand out:

Realistic Policy

The president signaled that climate policy should consider the real-world roles that are being played by various energy sources, saying:

“… we’re not going to suddenly turn off a switch and suddenly we’re no longer using fossil fuels, but we have to use this time wisely, so that you have a tapering off of fossil fuels replaced by clean energy sources that are not releasing carbon.”

Sounds reasonable, given the forecast of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook – that fossil fuels’ share of total U.S. energy use will be 80 percent in 2040, down only slightly from where it was in 2012 (82 percent). Oil and natural gas, which supplied 63 percent of the energy we used in 2012, are projected to supply 61 percent in 2040. Oil and natural gas are America’s energy today and tomorrow. 

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Innovation and Methane Emissions

methane emissions  innovation  technology  hydraulic fracturing  epa ghg regulations 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 3, 2014

A competitive marketplace is the sowing field for innovation and investment. Look no further than the advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that launched America’s ongoing shale energy revolution. Shale development features cutting-edge technology to increase output and efficiency and to make operations as safe and clean as possible. An example of this can be found in methane emissions.

While some call for government-directed efforts to reduce emissions, industry already is on this – through its own leadership and investments – and is achieving good results. 

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Study: Natural Gas Drilling Emits Less Methane Than Previously Estimated

epa  methane emissions  hydraulic fracturing 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 17, 2013

A new, comprehensive study by the University of Texas showing methane emissions from natural gas drilling are a fraction of estimates from just a few years ago vouches for industry efforts to reduce methane emissions, suggests existing regulation is working and that an additional regulatory layer isn’t needed.

The UT study, sponsored by a group of interests that includes the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and a number of natural gas producers, examined 150 production sites across the U.S. with 489 wells, 27 well completion flowbacks, nine well unloadings and four well workovers. 

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Shale Gas Emissions Study: Garbage In, Garbage Out

coal  fracking  greenhouse gas emissions  hydraulic fracturing  hydrofracking  methane  rhetoric vs reality  carbon dioxide emissions  carbon emissions  co2  eid  energy in depth  methane emissions  natural gas pipelines 

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 13, 2011

Calling it "an annual rite of spring," Energy In Depth (EID) debunks the latest Cornell "study" on emissions from shale gas development. Although the study got the attention of The New York Times and other major publications, EID points out on its blog that this isn't the first time that Cornell University Professor Robert Howarth has issued studies or abstracts alleging that shale gas production, especially the process of hydraulic fracturing, emits more methane than previously thought. His goal: casting a pall on the environmental benefits of using clean-burning natural gas. 

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