Massively leaking natural gas platforms grab the headlines, but the ordinary leakage and waste of fossil fuel production seldom grabs the same attention. Which is too bad, because as a new report from NRDC shows, there are serious monetary savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions just waiting to be had by improving efficiency and reducing waste by oil and gas producers.
The Leaking Profits report shows that methane emissions from the US oil and gas industry account for 37% of total US methane emissions—which in turn is roughly 10% of total US greenhouse gas emissions.
Using emission control technologies—which the full report goes into a good deal of detail about, for those interested—NRDC emissions from waste and leakage can be reduced by more than 80%, reduce air pollution that causes asthma attacks, as well as generate up to $2 billion annually from the sale of recovered natural gas.
What's the big deal about methane? In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, methane doesn't grab the headlines like CO2 and is much shorter lived in the atmosphere, but during that time it is at least 25 times as potent in producing warming.