A new Colorado State University study has found wide
variations in the amount of methane being emitted at U.S. natural gas gathering
facilities and processing plants.
In the most
comprehensive field study to date on these little-researched natural gas
sectors, researchers at CSU, Carnegie Mellon University and Aerodyne Research
took samples at 114 gathering stations and 16 processing plants across 13
indicate facility-level methane emissions ranged from less than 1 kilogram per
hour to 698 kilograms per hour, while loss rates ranged from less than 0.01
percent to greater than 10 percent. All of the stations with loss rates greater
than 10 percent were smaller facilities with lower natural gas throughput.
"This is an
exciting study because it is, by far, the largest and most comprehensive data
set ever collected on direct methane emissions from the gathering sector. The
results point to the gathering sector likely being a notable source of emissions
and identify areas where emission reductions can be achieved," said
Anthony Marchese, a CSU professor of mechanical engineering who led the study.
The team's findings were published in the
journal of Environmental Science &
. Researchers are using the measurement data to develop
an estimate of total methane emissions from all gathering and processing
facilities in the country. The results are expected to be published in the