Thursday, January 15, 2015

US sets goal to cut methane emissions by oil, gas industry

The US government on Wednesday announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, as part of its efforts to fight climate change.

"Today's actions on methane emissions are an important step to take on climate change, putting us on track to achieve President ( Barack) Obama's goal of cutting net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025," the White House said in a statement. "Achieving this goal would save up to 180 billion cubic feet of wasted natural gas in 2025 -- enough to heat more than 2 million homes for an entire year."

To meet that goal, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will issue a proposal to set standards for methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources this summer, while the Interior Department will update its standards to reduce methane leaks from wells on public lands, the White House said.

In addition, the Department of Energy will get 25 million US dollars in funding to develop and demonstrate technologies to identify and reduce natural gas leaks.

Methane, a major component of natural gas, accounted for nearly 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, of which nearly 30 percent came from oil production and the production, processing, transmission and distribution of natural gas, said a statement from the EPA.

While methane emissions from the oil and gas industry have declined 16 percent since 1990, they are projected to increase by about 25 percent over the next decade if no additional steps are taken, the EPA said.

The United States is now the largest natural gas producer in the world, and its oil production is at the highest level in nearly 30 years, according to the EPA.

   Source: Xinhua -

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