Methane Emissions Drop 99% at Natural Gas Drilling Sites, Study Says
WASHINGTON — Emissions of methane from natural gas well sites across the United States have fallen in a key part of the drilling process, despite the boom in natural gas development, according to a study published Monday.
The rise in natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has stoked concerns about leakage and venting into the atmosphere of methane, a chief component. Far more carbon dioxide is emitted than methane, but methane is 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
Researchers from the University of Texas found, however, that new equipment reduced emissions last year at 190 natural gas sites by 99% in one key step in the well-drilling process.
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that the air pollution is being dramatically reduced as energy companies deploy technology to comply with impending federal environmental regulations. The energy industry often has decried Environmental Protection Agency efforts to oversee natural gas