Anti-fracking groups have been clamoring over the negative impact fracking has on the environment. One of the primary arguments raised by these groups is that fracking leads to high methane emissions. A newly released study suggests that anti-fracking groups may need to find a new argument against fracking.
The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas (UT) released a study, finding that methane emissions from natural gas production have decreased. The study also found that the majority of methane emissions come from a small group of natural gas wells and associated equipment. Therefore, most oil and gas operators have been able to successfully stop methane emissions from their natural gas wells. In addition, the study found that methane emissions are higher in older wells. The study focused on methane emissions caused by liquid unloadings and pneumatic controller equipment—devices that control the opening and closing of valves.
Several other studies also suggest that fracking’s impact on the environment is not as lethal as anti-fracking groups have claimed. The EPA released a study earlier this year with findings similar to those in the UT study. The EPA concluded that methane emissions from fracking are 73 percent lower than the methane emissions level in 2011. Additionally, Cornell University and the University of Maryland have released studies finding that the environmental impact from shale gas is significantly lower in comparison to coal’s impact on the environment.