Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Methane leakage
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For years, scientists and governments were relying on the conversion of coal-fired power plants to natural gas as one way to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere.

Given the potency of methane (the chief constituent of natural gas) as a greenhouse gas, an underlying assumption was that the amount of natural gas that escaped from gas fields would not exceed 3.2 percent. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that approximately 2.4 percent of our total gas production escaped by leakage.

In 2012, that assumption was challenged. A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado in Boulder found that up to 4 percent of methane was escaping from a field near Denver. New data from Colorado has confirmed that loss.

Meanwhile, in Utah, preliminary field studies have estimated a whopping 9 percent of the total production is lost into our increasingly crowded atmosphere. The study must be repeated and more research is needed to put together the larger picture; however, leakage, of any amount, is something we must rectify.

William White

Salt Lake City

Article Tools

 Print Friendly
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.