Friday, April 30, 2021

Because of pandemic, Appalachia unseated the Permian Basin as the biggest methane-emitting region in 2020

The Appalachian Basin surpassed the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico to became the biggest source of methane emissions in the U.S. last year, according to analytics firm Kayrros. That's largely because falling energy demand hit the Permian a little harder than Appalachia: emissions fell by 20 percent in Appalachia and 26% in the Permian in 2020, Jamison Cocklin reports for Natural Gas Intel. It's the first time methane emissions from coal have been comprehensively quantified.

"Kayrros said recent data show emissions from fossil fuel production in the Appalachian Basin hit 3 million tons (Mt) in 2019 and 2.4 Mt in 2020," Cocklin reports. "Excluding emissions from coal mines, emissions from natural gas produced largely from the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian shales declined from 1.9 Mt in 2019 to 1.4 Mt in 2020. Methane from oil and natural gas production in the Permian declined from 2.7 Mt to 2.0 Mt over the same time." Some of the methane is from oil and gas, but some is from coal. It's tricky to figure out the source of Appalachian methane emissions since coal, gas and oil extraction sites are intermingled throughout the basin. 

The analysis shows "Large methane emissions cannot simply be considered as an unavoidable side effect of production but rather the avoidable consequence of various factors such as insufficient or poorly maintained infrastructure for natural gas gathering, processing, and transportation," World Oil reports

The report coincides with the Senate vote this week to restore regulation of methane emissions, as well as a major United Nations report calling for deep cuts in methane emissions to slow global warming.

No comments: