Methane emissions: Falling, but leaking
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is the main component of natural gas. Previous research has identified considerable methane emissions associated with oil and gas production, but estimates of emission trends have been inconsistent, in part due to limited in-situ methane observations spanning multiple years in oil/gas production regions. They present a unique analysis of one of the longest-running datasets of in-situ methane observations from an oil/gas production region in our Utah’s Uinta Basin. The observations indicate Uinta methane emissions approximately halved between 2015 and 2020, along with declining gas production. As a percentage of gas production, however, emissions remained steady over the same years, at ~ 6–8%, among the highest in the U.S. Addressing methane leaks and recovering more of the economically valuable natural gas is critical, as the U.S. seeks to address climate change through aggressive greenhouse emission reductions.