ExxonMobil: Methane regulations – what are the facts?
OREANDA-NEWS. August 24, 2015. As expected, this week the Obama administration unveiled regulations to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations.
Given the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, at first blush this appears to be sound policy.
But scratch the surface and you’ll see these regulations ignore the fact that methane emissions from our industry have been plummeting in recent years, even as natural gas production has soared.
Let me repeat a few points I made in a post this spring because, as I wrote at the time, they add up to a profound environmental success story with direct relevance to this week’s action:
- Net methane emissions from natural gas production have fallen 38 percent since 2005, during which time U.S. natural gas production has increased by 26 percent.
- Methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005.
- Methane emissions from U.S. crude oil production have decreased 21 percent since 1990.
- Total methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 11 percent since 2005.
- U.S. carbon emissions are near a 20-year low.
Those stats come straight out of the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
Meanwhile, recent studies confirm that methane leakage rates from natural gas development are extremely low.
Most media coverage of the administration’s methane proposal omitted these critical facts. That’s too bad, because they obviously call into question the need for government action.
Innovation in our industry produced the shale revolution that led to the dramatic environmental gains mentioned above — not to mention producing about the only good news the U.S. economy has experienced since 2008.
It makes no sense to burden our industry with costly rules and regulations that will stifle future innovation – in order to effect an outcome that is already occurring.