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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Energy in Depth Attacks Methane Study in Utah

From Energy in Depth:
As one digs deeper into the research, more and more questions begin to surface.
At the core of the study (and the reason it generated so much press attention) is the suggestion that methane “leakage” during natural gas development is exceedingly high. From the report:
“Given the large global warming potential of CH4, a natural gas leak rate of 6.2 – 11.7 % during production negates any short-term (<70 years) climate benefits of natural gas from this basin for electricity generation compared to oil.”
As noted, NOAA scored some early press coverage on that point back in January with the lead author, Colm Sweeney, proclaiming: “We were expecting to see high methane levels, but I don’t think anybody really comprehended the true magnitude of what we would see.”
This is an interesting comment for two reasons: First, they were expecting to see high methane emissions? Is Sweeney admitting they were going in with preconceived notions?  Second, Mr. Sweeney is claiming from one day of data collected in a three hour flight over one oil and gas field that we’re experiencing off the charts methane leakage rates. That’s a pretty serious accusation, and one that would normally call for a great deal more data to corroborate – certainly more than a sampling event that ran about as long as a Notre Dame football game.
Read the entire article here. 

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