Draft Federal Data: Oil and Natural Gas Methane Emissions Continue to Fall

U.S. methane emissions continue to decline despite significant increases in oil and natural gas development, according to the latest Environmental Protection Agency data.

EPA’s draft 2020 Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows that total U.S. methane emissions fell 1.2 percent from 2017 to 2018, continuing a trend that has seen these emissions reduced by 13 percent since 2005 and 30 percent since 1990. This phenomenon has occurred simultaneously to the United States becoming the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.

In fact, methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems have fallen a whopping 23 percent since 1990, at the same time that oil and natural gas production increased by 49 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

The decline in sector methane emissions is a testament to the widespread efforts of the oil and natural gas industry to reduce emissions from its operations. EPA largely attributes the declines “to a decrease in emissions from distribution, transmission and storage, processing, and exploration.”

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