Sunday, March 25, 2012

Money to Burn?

In a recent Market Watch article: Face-off Over Fracking, March 22, 2012, 1:44 PM, there was some discussion regarding methane being released into the air.

McClendon also took issue with Gallay’s contention that energy companies are releasing methane into the air from fracking. “We don’t want to leak methane. That’s money to us,” he said.
Really, Aubrey?  Your "money" is leaking....

And Money to Burn too?

As natural gas production grows, questions arise about methane leaks
By McClatchy Newspapers - March 24, 2012

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane can enter the atmosphere when gas is stored or transported, but it's particularly a concern with shale gas production during flowback -- when fracking fluids, water and gases flow out of a well after drilling but before the gas is put into pipelines.

Companies often burn or capture the methane during flowback. How extensively or effectively that's done overall, however, isn't clear.

The oil and gas industry is the biggest source of U.S. methane emissions, accounting for about 40 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Industry says that figure is inflated, because equipment is widely used to keep methane from entering the air.

It's generally agreed, however, that there isn't good data on how much methane is entering the atmosphere from natural gas operations.

"Even small leaks can wind up undoing most of the global warming benefit we think we're getting when we substitute natural gas for coal," said Mark Brownstein, who leads the natural gas and oil team at the Environmental Defense Fund.

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