Global warming effect of methane leakage from US Permian draws fresh scrutiny


The effects of record-breaking global warming in the Permian basin, the world’s largest oil field, have attracted new scrutiny as methane erupts into the atmosphere from its oil and gas operations.

Emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, are once again in the limelight as production recovers to accommodate rising oil prices from the depths of the 2020 crash.

Most of these sources can be traced back to just a handful of leaky pipes, wells and plants, according to new research. According to aerial data collected by the Environmental Defense Fund and Carbon Mapper, only 30 facilities throughout the Permian period account for approximately 100,000 tonnes of methane emissions each year.

That’s roughly equivalent to short-term pollution of 500,000 vehicles, according to Environmental Protection Agency figures, and about 1 percent of all methane emissions from the US oil and gas sector.

Efforts to address methane emissions are considered important for limiting global warming, as they have a warming factor of 80 times that of carbon dioxide over 20 years. Last year’s UN report identified reductions in methane emissions as the fastest way to delay global heating.

According to the report, the main sources of anthropogenic methane were agriculture and waste disposal sites, but the extraction of fossil fuels caused about one-third of the pollution.

Riley Duren, Chief Executive Officer and Research Scientist at the University of Arizona’s Carbon Mapper, said:

“And the oil and gas sector is the most suitable sector for action. It’s all human infrastructure, and most of the technology needed to reduce emissions is well understood.”

The Permian Basin covers an area of ​​the same size as England, straddling western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. It accounts for 2 barrels of the 5 barrels of oil pumped across the United States.

Although production fell following the 2020 oil price plunge, oil fields are now pumping more oil than at any point in their history. According to the US Energy Information Administration, it plans to produce more than 5 million barrels of oil for the first time in February.

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Permian fertility makes the Permian a major contributor to global methane emissions.According to recently Scientific papersApproximately 2.7 million tonnes are released into the atmosphere each year from pipes, wells, treatment station leaks, and deliberate flaring of excess natural gas throughout the basin.

Efforts to tackle methane pollution The heart of Joe Biden’s climate agenda.. His administration has reinstated rules on closing leaks in new oil and gas facilities abandoned by Donald Trump. New regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency will also limit leaks from existing facilities.

US Climate Envoy John Kerry also hosted a gathering of ministers from more than 20 countries this week to discuss a national blueprint on how to reduce methane emissions. At the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, more than 100 countries agreed to reduce methane emissions by 30% by the end of 2010 compared to 2020 levels.

The crackdown on methane is widely endorsed by most of the major Permian public oil producers, who are under increasing shareholder pressure over their trust in the environment. But they are under pressure to keep their pledges.

David Lyon, senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said: “”[But] I don’t know if any company is doing enough. “

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Global warming effect of methane leakage from US Permian draws fresh scrutiny Source link Global warming effect of methane leakage from US Permian draws fresh scrutiny

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