The amount of methane released from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is half what the Obama administration estimates, according to a study released Monday by the American Petroleum Institute and the America’s Natural Gas Alliance.
Howard Feldman, API’s director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs told reporters on a conference call that the study “provides the best, most comprehensive estimate of methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production. It’s based on data from ten times as many wells as support the estimate EPA has been using.”
The industry groups say their emissions estimate is more accurate than that by the Environmental Protection Agency because it is based on emissions from 91,000 wells, while the EPA’s estimate derived from studying only 8,800 wells.
Feldman added that the API–ANGA study involved wells “distributed over a much broader geographic area” than those studied by EPA.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” involves high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into rock formations, which open up cracks that enable trapped gas to flow.
Use of fracking in shale-gas formations is enabling a U.S. natural gas boom, but bringing concerns about water contamination along with it.