|CSU Methane Study Gains National Attention|
According to a new Colorado State University study, about 200 natural gas gathering facilities in Colorado are leaking methane into the atmosphere unmonitored. The study is the first to scrutinize the initial stage of the natural gas supply chain's effects on the environment.
Gathering facilities, which collect natural gas from wells, compress it and send it to processing plants, lose small amounts of methane from a large number of sources — mostly exhaust pipes and leaks during transportation. The study estimates there are about 4,500 gathering facilities in the country. The CSU study chose 114 gathering facilities scattered across the country and spent 20 weeks measuring their methane emissions and used those numbers to develop a model for national emissions.
They found that gathering facilities emit 1,697 gigagrams of methane every year, more than triple what processing plants leak. The loss equals the amount of natural gas consumed by 3.2 million American homes annually. If the EPA factored the CSU team’s findings into its estimates of American methane emissions, the number would jump 20 percent.