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Methane Emissions from Well Sites Found to be Lower than Previously Estimated

Last week the University of Texas, in conjunction with the Environmental Defense Fund and 9 companies involved in natural gas production, released a study which found that 0.42% of natural gas produced in the U.S. is emitted into the atmosphere as methane (the main component of natural gas).  This estimate is lower than the leak rates found in a 2010 Cornell University study, which estimated leakage at between 0.6 to 3.2%, and U.S. EPA’s review of 2011 data which showed that gas leaked from wells at a rate of 0.47%.  Researchers in the University of Texas study recorded direct measurements of actual emissions at 190 well sites, whereas Cornell and U.S. EPA researchers used data provided by drillers.  This is the first of multiple studies to be completed by the University of Texas.