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I find the DK article suffers from typical hyperbole and a lack of the bigger framework.

The findings are based on a measurement on one day in an area that was under development at that time. In measuring time-series, that's a single measurement, and should be treated as such. This does not dismiss the findings, but they should not be enthusiastically extrapolated either. The measuring method, although valid, also indicates limitations for creating a periodical time-series.

With the exception of studies performed by the industry, which predictably find much lower rates of methane release in both conventional and unconventional wells, there exists to my knowledge no independent study that has monitored a significant sample of unconventional gas wells for an extended period of time, during either the phase of construction or steady production. Most will agree that such independent monitoring would be prudent as unconventional gas continues to expand and encroach towards less inhabited terrains. But in a controversial topic like this, even the counting of the number of wells becomes disputed.

Commenter LakeSuperior observes in the comments of the DK diary:

Daily Kos: NOAA Investigation Finds Massive Methane Emissions from Utah Fracking: 6% to 12% Lost to Atmosphere

Nothing in this particular scientific investigation directly measures emissions rates of specific pieces of oil and gas process equipment in the Uintah basin field under discussion.   Any discussion of what emission factors EPA used in its most recent methane and greenhouse gas emission inventory has to be related to specific factors applicable to specific pieces of equipment and specific operations.  

As a result, your 'now clear' declaration that EPA's emission inventory is 'far below realistic values' is either premature or does not address specifically what emission factors you are challenging.  

No part of the NOAA work can distinguish between the different process emission sources at well pads and other related facilities, such as what portion of the atmospheric methane increase detected is attributable to production operations and what portion of it is attributable to well construction and completion operations (as distinguished from production operations).

Anyway, the game looks rigged to me. Methane releases do not tally in the CO2 emissions and Obama's policy are guided to reduce CO2 emissions due to increasing shale gas production. After which it is not unlikely that shale gas production will decrease, and the next presidencies will be faced with sharply increasing CO2 emissions again.

by Bjinse on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 06:41:58 AM EST
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