Shale drilling releases 100+ Times More Methane than EPA thought

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted April 16, 2014

A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that methane emissions from seven natural gas drilling operations in the Marcellus formation average 34 grams of methane per second, vastly higher than EPA estimates.

The study says emissions are 2 to 3 orders of magnitude higher than EPA estimates for this particular phase of operations, and that the seven well pads it studied might contribute as much as 30% of the region’s contamination.

Following the announcement, the EPA released five technical whitepapers about methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector. The goal of the papers is to seek peer review and public comment “to determine how to best pursue additional reductions from these sources.” The EPA expects to implement new regulations by the end of 2016.

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