MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – The amount of methane emitted by natural gas extraction, including fracking, is grossly underestimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a new study published in the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Thirteen scientists from different academic and research institutions and fields co-authored the report, which used special airborne instruments “to identify large sources of methane and quantify emission rates in southwestern Pennsylvania.”
“We identified a significant regional flux of methane over a large area of shale gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania in the Marcellus formation and further identified several pads with high methane emissions,” the report says.
The researchers found that emissions at seven wells were 2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than EPA estimates. In a statement released Tuesday, the EPA said it was aware of the discrepancies and was working to resolve them.
“The identification and quantification of methane emissions from natural gas production has become increasingly important owing to the increase in the natural gas component of the energy sector,” the authors noted.
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