Methane Leaks – Collaborative Study

At C.O.G.E.N.T., we like collaborative studies where industry and environmental organizations pull resources and together provide information that is reliable and transparent.  One organization, CSSD  has four industry partners and seven environmental/public interest partners.  CSSD plans to collaboratively develop and share best practices.  CSSD is facilitating research designed to determine the extent of hydrocarbon emissions from flowback impoundment waters.

EDF is one CSSD’s environmental partners.  EDF just recently published their study concerning methane leaks during production.  EDF is actually producing 16 studies “characterizing methane emissions in five key areas of the natural gas system:  production, gathering and processing, transmission and storage, local distribution and use in operating and fueling heavy and medium weight trucks.”  The work of these studies are expected to be completed sometime towards the end of 2014.

“This study is the first in a comprehensive research initiative that Environmental Defense Fund is helping to produce with more than 90 partner universities, scientists, research facilities and natural gas industry companies. This effort, the largest scientific undertaking in EDF’s history, is an unprecedented attempt to measure where and how much methane is being released across the entire natural gas supply chain.”

EDF has built into each study an independent Scientific Advisory Panel.   That is good news to ensure reliability of study results.  Nine operators; Anadarko, BG Group, Chevron, Encana, Pioneer, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Talisman Energy and XTO Energy participated in the study with sites across the U.S.; Gulf Coast, Mid‐Continent, Rocky Mountain and Appalachian regions.  Studies that include active industry sites with industry participation, well that is the icing on the cake really.  So many try to do studies where industry is not either eager or interested in participating.  “Pop Quiz” sites where the researchers selected their study sites from industry provided schedules, well, that is what we like to see.  We work better when we work together is what I often say, and this is exactly what we’ll see with the series of studies EDF is poised to produce.

The EDF information is very interesting and deserves a slow read and perhaps even a re-read.  While many news outlets covered the initial press release, and some good info there too, I found that the press releases were much akin to watching the movie than reading the book.  The book is always better.  This is the same here, so take a look at what EDF has to share and if you are like me, you’ll be eagerly awaiting the next study results!

A New Study Measures Methane Leaks In The Natural Gas Industry

This is like the Reader’s Digest condensed version.  FAQ About the University of Texas Methane Study

And for those who desire to peruse the real deal, here is the published article and appendix.

While I could’ve taken more time and extracted some quotes and highlights, it is such a good read, it is worth finding the time.  So many studies tell us what we already know once the study is completed.  EDF is looking at some really important issues here that will help industry make adjustments to ensure the methane footprint is lower than other fossil fuels.  This is a good study for EDF, the environmentalists, industry and the public.

Emily Krafjack, President