This group brings together the best thinkers on energy and climate. Join us for smart, insightful posts and conversations about where the energy industry is and where it is going.

10,140 Members

Post

Four Of 10 Fracked Wells In Pennsylvania Are Projected To Fail

This undated handout frame grab taken from video, provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection shows bubbling due to impaired cementing in an unconventional gas well in Pennsylvania.

This undated handout frame grab taken from video, provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection shows bubbling due to impaired cementing in an unconventional gas well in Pennsylvania. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

A major new study finds that, as suspected, it is new, unconventional gas wells that are far more likely to leak heat-trapping — and tap-water igniting — methane than older, conventional wells.

After examining the publicly available compliance records of more than 41,000 wells in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Cornell-led researchers have dropped this bombshell:

About 40 percent of the oil and gas wells in parts of the Marcellus shale region will probably be leaking methane into the groundwater or into the atmosphere…. This study shows up to a 2.7-fold higher risk for unconventional wells — relative to conventional wells — drilled since 2009.

Study after study has found consistently higher methane leakage rates from natural gas production and distribution than reported by either the industry or EPA (which uses industry self-reported data).

The key point is that natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. So the leaks in the natural gas production and delivery system that have now been observed are enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas for many, many decades.

Writing this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers explain:

“These results, particularly in light of numerous contamination complaints and explosions nationally in areas with high concentrations of unconventional oil and gas development and the increased awareness of the role of methane in … climate change, should be cause for concern.”

This study comes just two weeks after Princeton research found “Methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas [AOG] wells appear to be a significant source of methane emissions to the atmosphere.” That research found up to 970,000 AOG wells in Pennsylvania!

There seems little doubt that fracked wells — those that are still producing and those that are abandoned — leak methane into the water and air creating serious health and climate problems. It is time for the industry to move from denial to action.

The post Four Of 10 Fracked Wells In Pennsylvania Are Projected To Fail, Spewing Methane Into Air And Water appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Joseph Romm's picture

Thank Joseph for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.

Discussions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 6, 2014

Job001, are you aware of any environmental improvements which have been made by fossil fuel companies before a “BS” regulation made them mandatory?

To my knowledge, that would be a first.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »