Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yellow Flags On NOAA/Colorado Methane Leakage Paper

Michael Levi's blog post about the details of the methane leakage data gathered by NOAA scientists in Colorado is interesting. Levi gets into the weeds of some of the calculations used in the paper. See

No matter the details, my bottom line remains that methane leakage rates can and should be cut.  Doing so is crucial to maximizing the benefits of natural gas and protecting the natural gas "brand."  Both industry and environmentalists should have common purpose on cutting methane leakage.  The EPA July 2011 proposed rule that is now expected to be made final in April will be a major milestone on this important issue.


  1. Concerned ScientistFebruary 22, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    I found that Levi post enlightening and had a feeling that once people dug through the headlines on the NOAA paper that the conclusions would come into question. That seems to be how this issue goes.

    That said I could not agree more than methane emissions have to be minimized. The worst offenders don't seem to be gas wells or fracking but condensate tanks that leak methane out the top.

    It should also be pointed out again that the NOAA paper in no way vindicates Howarth et al. who came up with their inflated numbers in a very different and flawed way. They were trying to say that shale gas was way worse than conventional gas and there is nothing in the NOAA report to support that.

  2. Howarth also has at least 2 other key assumptions, having nothing to do with methane leakage rates, that create his conclusion that 6 other studies reject.