EDF’s Misleading Marcellus Methane Report Based on Outdated Study That Overestimated Emissions

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) released an analysis this week that claims, “Pennsylvania’s oil and gas companies emit at least five-times more methane pollution than they report to the state.” But EDF’s analysis is misleading, considering it’s based on an outdated report that overestimated emissions and the fact that only the unconventional oil and gas industry – which represents 82 percent of new wells drilled since 2015 and 72 percent of the wells drilled in 2015 – is required to report emissions to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The unconventional industry is also the only industry that is targeted by the new proposed methane emissions regulations.

The latter said, it is far more relevant that Pennsylvania’s unconventional oil and gas industry has been steadily reducing its methane emissions since reporting began in 2012, and recent sampling has shown that methane leakages rates in the Marcellus are “very low.” That’s significant, considering the unconventional industry represented a mere 18 percent of new wells drilled from 2000 to 2015 before jumping to 82 percent from 2015 to 2018, with production skyrocketing to more than five trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually.

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