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Trending... by Mark S. Kuhar, Editor

Aug. 15, 2019 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an agreement with Whitaker Aggregates Inc. of Humboldt, Kan., to pay a civil penalty for failing to respond to...

ROCKtv

CASE has partnered with country music singer Jon Pardi to help raise awareness to careers in the construction industry. Check out Jon’s story about growing up with his dad in...

Prime-Time Products

Komatsu America Corp. announced the introduction of the WA900-8. The 256,618-lb. (116,400-kg) wheel loader is equipped with an EPA Tier 4 Final certified emission regulations-compliant engine, and is purpose-built to...
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Manufacturers in Focus

On Aug. 3, Bunting Magnetics Co. celebrated its 60th anniversary as a company. Since being founded in 1959, Bunting Magnetics Co. has grown from a small company in Chicago, to...
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The Strategist

By: Pierre G. Villere As the real estate market collapsed in the fall of 2008, when the financial crisis pushed us over the edge into the Great Recession, a quiet but...

People on the Move

Astec Industries named Barry Ruffalo president and chief executive officer effective Aug. 12. Ruffalo, has been a group vice president at Valmont Industries for the past 13 years. He fills...
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Rock Stars

Curt Biehn, Mississippi Lime Co. (MLC) Flue Gas Treatment (FGT) business director was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Reinhold Conference in Birmingham, Ala. Biehn has worked...
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Study: Methane Leakage from Shale Gas Lower Than Alleged


Initial findings from a new comprehensive study undertaken by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Texas found that methane leakage rates from natural gas systems were far below estimates of previous studies.

In 2011, a study released from Cornell University led by ecologist Robert Howarth purported to show high levels of methane “leakage” from natural gas systems, including wells that had been hydraulically fractured. The Howarth study indicated that as much as 7.9 percent of natural gas developed from shale was leaking into the atmosphere thus negating its carbon-friendly advantages.

Studies since the release of the Howarth report have all tended to dispute or outwardly challenge the findings contained in the report. However, initial findings from the new study should leave little doubt.
The first part of the EDF study confirms the consensus reached by most scientists that methane leakage rates from natural gas systems were far below the estimates provided in the Howarth report. The study reviewed emissions associated with well development, production, and completions and found leakage of methane fell below estimates made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The agency's most recent data found that overall leakage from the natural gas production process was actually below 1.5 percent.

Using their own writings, critics of the use of natural gas have claimed that leakage rates must fall below 2 to 3 percent in order to obtain any benefit from the use of natural gas. This report simply confirms USEPA's findings of leakage rates well below those found in the Howarth study and even below the thresholds set forth by critics of the natural gas industry.