Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations
Climatic Change Letters , Springer Publishing
Volume 106, Number 1, April 14, 2011
Robert W. Howarth, Ph.D.; Renee Santoro, Ph.D.; Anthony Ingraffea, Ph.D.
Preparation of this paper was supported by a grant from the Park Foundation and by an endowment fund of the David R. Atkinson Professorship in Ecology & Environmental Biology at Cornell University. We thank R. Alvarez, C. Arnold, P. Artaxo, A. Chambers, D. Farnham, P. Jamarillo, N. Mahowald, R. Marino, R. McCoy, J. Northrup, S. Porder, M. Robertson, B. Sell, D. Shrag, L. Spaeth, and D. Strahan for information, encouragement, advice, and feedback on our analysis and manuscript. We thank M. Hayn for assistance with the figures. Two anonymous reviewers and Michael Oppenheimer provided very useful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
Conflict of Interest disclosure:
Howarth graph of methane footprint of gas vs coal over 20 yrs

We evaluate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas obtained by high volume hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, focusing on methane emissions. Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the lifetime of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured—as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids—and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20-year time horizon. The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.

© Robert W. Howarth
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

For a free copy of full article CLICK HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment is a medium for concerned citizens to express their opinions in regards to 'Fracking.' We are Representatives of Democracy. We are Fractivists. We are you.