Oil and gas industry working to reduce emissions

A Sept. 12 guest column, “Everyone must address climate change,” took aim at greenhouse gas emissions, with “the exponential growth of natural gas production” being cited as a significant source of methane emissions.

Pennsylvania’s natural gas producers agree that reducing methane emissions is a very high priority, and the facts about controlling them show the progress made to do so.

The production of oil and gas in the Appalachian Basin states has skyrocketed, surging 379% in the seven years between 2011-2017. Even with this growth, methane emissions have ticked down from 5.3 to 4.7 million metric tons during that period. Measured as “emissions intensity,” or emissions generated per unit of energy produced, those levels are down 82%.

This is being achieved by technological innovations and increased efforts to improve sustainability and efficiency by both producers and midstream companies. As a practical matter, it makes business sense to identify and prevent methane emissions, since it is one of the primary products of natural gas sold to consumers and businesses.

There has also been significant progress in methane emissions reductions at the national level, with a voluntary investment of over $100 million in control technologies and best management practices to detect and prevent leaks. Greenhouse gas levels are at their lowest point since 1992, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The facts are clear: Pennsylvania is producing vast amounts of natural gas and we are using more of it to make electricity. Methane levels are dropping despite this increase, and our overall air quality has improved greatly with the use of more gas to power our homes and businesses.

The state’s oil and gas industry is committed to improving our environment while also delivering the energy our country demands.

Daniel J. Weaver, President & Executive Director, Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association