• 3 minutes Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 7 minutes Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 12 minutes Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 8 hours Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 2 mins Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 11 hours Tesla Closing a Dozen Solar Facilities in Nine States
  • 17 hours Saudi Arabia plans to physically cut off Qatar by moat, nuclear waste and military base
  • 11 hours Why is permian oil "locked in" when refineries abound?
  • 8 hours Gazprom Exports to EU Hit Record
  • 50 mins Oil prices going down
  • 7 hours Oil Buyers Club
  • 8 hours Could oil demand collapse rapidly? Yup, sure could.
  • 9 hours EU Leaders Set To Prolong Russia Sanctions Again
  • 6 hours Saudi Arabia turns to solar
  • 1 day Teapots Cut U.S. Oil Shipments
  • 11 hours EVs Could Help Coal Demand
  • 1 day Hot line, Macron: Phone Calls With Trump Are Like Sausages Best Not To Know What Is Inside
  • 17 hours China’s Plastic Waste Ban Will Leave 111 Million Tons of Trash With Nowhere To Go
  • 1 day Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
Alt Text

Did OPEC Need To Cut Oil Output At All?

Global oil demand continues to…

Alt Text

China Plans To Create A $78 Billion Natural Gas Giant

Chinese regulators are looking to…

Alt Text

The Oil Giant That Saw Its Cash Reserves Plunge 90%

India’s top oil exporter has…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is a freelance writer on oil and gas, renewable energy, climate change, energy policy and geopolitics. He is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

More Info

Trending Discussions

New Study Finds Higher Methane Emissions from Fracking

New Study Finds Higher Methane Emissions from Fracking

A major new study finds that methane emissions from the production of shale gas may in fact be higher than previously thought. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on November 25, casts into doubt the notion that natural gas produces half as much greenhouse gas pollution as coal. Natural gas has been embraced by many, including President Obama, as a centerpiece of America’s climate change plan.

Methane can be released from natural gas wells during the drilling process. Scientists have thus far had difficulty measuring these “fugitive methane emissions” precisely, with competing studies stirring controversy. The latest report, published by a group of 15 scientists, found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is significantly underestimating the amount of methane released during natural gas production. Specifically, the report concludes that fugitive methane emissions could be 50% higher than EPA estimates.

The findings could put pressure on state environmental regulators as well as the U.S. EPA to draw up new regulations, according to Dan Lashof of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Methane is a powerful climate change pollutant, and the study gives greater impetus to the EPA and states to establish stronger standards to reduce leaks from the oil and gas system,” he said in an interview. Similarly, Dan Grossman of the Environmental Defense Fund told NPR in an interview last week, “[w]e think that other states will look at what we were able to accomplish here and replicate it.”

Related article: Shell Produces Gas at Record Low Cost in China

If the latest figures are accurate, it could mean that the greenhouse gas advantage that natural gas has over coal could be a mirage. The Energy Information Administration estimates that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined 12% since 2007, citing natural gas supplanting coal as a major reason. That number does not account for methane emissions however.

Colorado is leading the charge in regulating methane, as its air quality regulators recently proposed rules that would require tougher standards at drilling sites. The rules would force operators to use infrared cameras to detect leaks; conduct inspections of pipelines, tanks, and other equipment on a monthly basis; and observe stricter limits when operating near residential communities. No other state has enacted rules that target methane pollution.

The regulations in Colorado enjoy the support of several key industry players, including Anadarko, Encana, and Noble Energy. They agreed to the regulations because of public pressure to do so. State elections in early November saw four Colorado communities ban hydraulic fracturing. Oil and gas companies hope that by cooperating with regulators, they can quell opposition to drilling. Still, they caution that compliance with the rules will cost up to $80 million a year due to required inspections. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment estimated the annual cost would only reach $30 million.

By. Nick Cunningham




Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • Mary Russell on December 02 2013 said:
    "...they caution that compliance with the rules will cost up to $80 million a year due to required inspections."

    I'd love to see someone investigate the "true cost" incurred by the public, especially in health care costs associated with air and water pollution, local and state tax incentives for the O&G industry, costs to municipal water systems competing for the water used to produce O&G, as well as the effects on the flora and fauna from increased dust, destroyed habitat, and water use and pollution.

    Anyone who is a systems thinker understands that any business that relies on the use of such vast tracks of land and water, on the surface and underneath the surface of the earth, is a highly suspect business. The costs, I'd bet, out way the benefits for the public.

    The fact that the O&G industry has $80million to spend on assuring they are protecting the health and welfare of the communities they do business in, is again suspect.

    Let's push progressing renewable resources, and the consumption of renewable energy to heat our homes, cook our food, and travel.
  • stephen saffold on December 08 2013 said:
    these consents to $80million underscores the desperate nature of the oil
    extraction business. Hubbert's curve and knowledgable analysts remind us
    the downside of oil extraction is only 1 1/2 to 2 years away and the world will
    be fundamentally different after as a result. Mary is correct in calling for transition
    to renewables not just to reduce climate impact but to continue a semblance of
    civilisation when this downhill snowball of oil depletion gets rolling

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News