14 Feb 2014

Natural gas IS methane!

I don't know about you, but I'm a little stunned to find out that all the "methane releases" people are talking about with fracking are basically the same as leaks of the natural gas they are trying to find (as opposed to cow-related methane causing explosions). They are, in other words, the same as oil spills near wells, tankers or refineries, because natural gas is mainly methane.

I kept thinking that methane in tap water (flaming tap water!) happened because sometimes there was methane near the natural gas well. Now I hear (from my GF) that it's always there. Doh!

Well, that's quite interesting to me, because now we are talking about more efficient production as the same as less-leaky production. That should clarify the importance which companies should give to leaks, but perhaps it also highlights their willingness (probably based on cost-benefit tradeoffs) to "spill a little" in the extraction process.

Did you make that connection? If so, what are the implications for methane pollution from fracking, which is about 20x the pollution from conventional natural gas production?

Credit for this enlightenment -- and a H/T for cow farts -- to Cornelia :)