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

Carlton Carroll | 202.682.8114 |

WASHINGTON, December 9, 2014 – 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 and production of natural gas are down from previous studies and now represent only 0.38 percent of production.  The findings show the industry is leading in its efforts to reduce emissions, according to API Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman.

“Study after study shows that industry-led efforts to reduce emissions through investments in new technologies and equipment 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 regulations that will be fully implemented by January. Methane is natural gas, so capturing more methane is helping operators deliver more natural gas to consumers.”

The study finds that methane emissions are 10 percent lower than what the same research team found in a study released in September 2013. EPA recently observed that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing have fallen by 73 percent since 2011.

“Industry will continue to improve environmental stewardship as it maintains America’s leading position as the top producer of natural gas in the world,” Feldman said.  “The oil and natural gas revolution is driving unprecedented job growth, providing Americans with affordable energy, and helping to reduce emissions. In fact, safe and responsible development of energy from shale has helped the U.S. cut CO2 emissions to near 20-year lows.” 

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.