API release the following statement on the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) recent paper on methane emissions.
“This paper is consistent with the fact that methane emissions were low in 2015 and reaffirms the benefits of increased use of natural gas as a fuel source, which is driving US carbon dioxide emissions downward,” said API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito. “The industry has achieved continued emissions reductions thanks in large part to technology advancements and this innovation has been fundamentally important to our shared goal to reduce emissions.
“Methane emissions are down 14 percent since 1990 during the same period that natural gas production has increased more than 50 percent. Driven by greater use of natural gas, the air we breathe is the cleanest of the modern era and continues to improve and U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are at 25-year lows.
“The natural gas and oil industry is committed to continuous improvement in operations, including safety, public health and reducing emissions from exploration and production sites. The Environmental Partnership is an example of our forward-looking commitment to delivering on a continuous cycle of learning, collaborating, and taking action. We look forward to continuing our engagement with both private and governmental organizations, to identify ways to improve our operations and provide our operational and technical expertise to ensure that current and future data collection and analysis are robust and accurate.”
While API will review the specifics of the paper, previous studies have demonstrated the limitations of relying of airborne measurements alone to draw firm conclusions on methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. These limitations include (a) the ability to extrapolate short term measurements to annual loss rates; (b) the apportionment of the measured methane concentration between fossil and biogenic methane; (c) the accuracy of the reverse flux calculation to derive emission rates from ambient measurements; and (d) the ability to determine the local background methane concentrations for air mass entering the basin/area.