Another study has confirmed that there is significant methane leakage in natural gas extraction. This was the finding in a major new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. A total of 19 researchers, mostly from NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).
The data was collected by research aircraft and measured significant quantities of methane seeping from natural gas fields. The measurements were taken in February in the Uinta Basin. What was most alarming in the findings is that the field leeched on average 6 to 12 percent of the methane produced.
This study reiterates earlier findings which show high rates of methane leakage. These studies suggest that any gains from the lower emissions profile associated with the burning of natural of gas are completely undermined by natural gas seepage.
It is widely understood that natural gas (composed mostly of methane) is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon as it stays in the atmosphere. According to some estimates it is 25 times more potent over a century and 80 to 100 times more potent over a 20-year period.
When taken together natural gas may actually be worse than coal.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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