Inside Climate News discusses how a study finds that super-polluting methane emissions are twice the Federal estimates in the Permian Basin. The methane is a byproduct of fracking for oil, often burned off at well heads or emitted into the atmosphere instead of being captured for use as fuel.
Methane emissions from the Permian basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, one of the largest oil-producing regions in the world, are more than two times higher than federal estimates, a new study suggests.
The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, reaffirm the results of a recently released assessment and further call into question the climate benefits of natural gas.
Using hydraulic fracturing, energy companies have increased oil production to unprecedented levels in the Permian basin in recent years.
Methane, or natural gas, has historically been viewed as an unwanted byproduct to be flared, a practice in which methane is burned instead of emitted into the atmosphere, or vented by oil producers in the region. While new natural gas pipelines are being built to bring the gas to market, pipeline capacity and the low price of natural gas has created little incentive to reduce methane emissions.