As the world’s economy is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the demand for gas and oil is on the rise.
However, the same can be said about the emission of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas with 80 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.
The fossil fuel industry is one of humanity’s primary sources of methane emission, producing 70 metric tons of polluting gas in 2020.
That quantity is approximately the same as all the CO2 produced by the European Union.
However, there is a silver lining – Approximately 40% of all methane emissions from gas/oil production can be decreased without costing a penny, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
Decreasing that number “is among the most cost-effective and impactful actions that governments can take to achieve global goals,” a statement from the agency says.
Natural gas is produced after drilling or hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), and it also gets extracted as a byproduct of oil drilling, making it very lucrative.
As the gas is odourless and invisible, finding gas leaks can be tricky.
Leaks is can happen at any point during the process, from extraction out of the ground to the moment when gas gets burned in power plants.
However, the EIA suggests that one of the most cost-effective steps that natural gas producers can take is switching to newer equipment.
Numerous valves, pumps, and compressors on a gas-drilling pad produce methane in the course of their operations, and analysis suggests that they have a tendency of leaking more as they age, mainly if their maintenance isn’t properly conducted.
The EIA suggests replacing components and gas-powered parts with electric versions, which typically leak considerably less gas during operation.