Oil spill prompts calls for better spill response, new study finds
Oil and gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale has released more than 1 million gallons of natural gas into the atmosphere since it began production in 2008, according to new data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
That has prompted calls for a more aggressive response to spills.
The new study by the Energy Information Administration found that natural gas was released into the air at a rate of 5,826 megajoules per hour — nearly 3,000 times the maximum permissible level.
The EPA says that means an average of 1.3 million gallons a minute of gas were released into atmosphere in the region.
The agency also said that the gas was primarily released in the form of a large volume of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can increase the risk of global warming and contribute to climate change.
The analysis found that about 1,500 megajounes of methane were released per hour.
More: Energy Information Agency The agency said the methane emissions came mostly from natural gas wells and horizontal wells that have been drilled since 2008.
The data from drilling operations was obtained from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which manages the federal Office of Petroleum Products.
The study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and analyzed data from over 30,000 wells.
The results were released Thursday, according