Researchers from Stanford University claim wells and pipelines in New Mexico are leaching large amounts of methane
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Oil and gas wells and pipelines in the state of New Mexico are emitting significantly larger amounts of methane than previous data had indicated, researchers from Stanford University have revealed. Methane is known to be one of the main contributors to global warming, many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
A fresh analysis of aerial data collected over the Permian Basin indicates that oil and gas facilities there are giving off 194 metric tons of methane per hour– a figure six times as high as the latest estimate from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The alarming study, authored by Yuanlei Chen and Evan Sherwin, was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology on Wednesday.
The two researchers described their disbelief when they first saw the startling results. Dr. Sherwin, a postdoctoral research fellow in energy resources engineering at Stanford, told The New York Times that he and his colleague had “spent really the past more than two years going backwards and forwards thinking of ways that we might be wrong and talking with other experts in the methane community.” He noted that, after initial doubts, the researchers “realized that this was our best estimate of methane emissions in this region and this time, and we had to publish it.”