Penn State Study Finds Very Little Methane Leaks from Shale Ops

Methane (i.e. natural gas) is often made out to be a bogeyman by radical environmentalists. They’d have you believe a single molecule wafting into the air will cause global warming and make Mom Earth fry. It’s bunkum. However, the fairy tales we grow up with exert a strong control over us later in life. The hew and cry of so-called environmentalists is that extracting natural gas leads to fugitive methane in the atmosphere–and fugitive methane diminishes the benefits of using natural gas. Some quacks like Cornell professors Tony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth actually say burning dirty coal is better than extracting and using clean-burning natural gas (see Geriatric Duo Howarth & Ingraffea Want NY to Stop Using NatGas). So how much methane actually escapes during the process of drilling and extracting and pipelining the gas? Take a wild guess. Maybe 5% wafts into the stratosphere? Or perhaps 2-3%? What about 1%? If only 1% of the gas extracted was lost in the extraction/transportation process, that would be pretty darned good in our book. Penn State researchers, using a grant by the federal Dept. of Energy, set out to answer the question of how much methane is escaping. They did a study in northeast PA, using data from stationary towers and airplanes flying over gas operations. The study, titled “Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania” (full copy below) found that methane leakage rates from natural gas wells and other infrastructure in the Northeast Marcellus Shale are roughly 0.4 percent of production. You read that right! A measly four-tenths of one percent of all production is lost. Statistically speaking–zero…

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