Bridge Fuel or Gangplank? America s Natural Gas. James McGarry Chief Policy Analyst Chesapeake Climate Action Network

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1 Bridge Fuel or Gangplank? America s Natural Gas James McGarry Chief Policy Analyst Chesapeake Climate Action Network

2 Climate Change & Energy 350 parts per million (ppm): The CO2 concentration in our atmosphere considered by scientists to be a safe upper limit 400 ppm: The threshold that the Earth passed in May 2013 To prevent global temperatures from rising 2 C relative to pre-industrial levels the maximum upper limit agreed upon by 114 nations including the United States global greenhouse gas emissions will have to fall 40% to 70% by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change. 13 Apr

3 Natural Gas: Bridge Fuel to Clean Energy Future? Natural gas emits half as much CO2 as coal. at the point of combustion. But that s only half the story! Combustion is only one part of a much longer natural gas lifecycle.

4 Lifecycle Natural Gas Emissions Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a bridge to a renewable energy future it s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments. NYT op-ed, Gangplank to a Warm Future July 28, 2013 Anthony R. Ingraffea - professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University Source: The Carbon Brief

5 How much is too much leakage? If the methane leakage rate is high, then the climate benefits from the phasing out coal in favor of natural gas could be negligible. The International Energy Agency, for example, determined that when averaged over 20 years, any leakage rate over three percent results in well-to-burner GHG emissions from natural gas that are equal to or greater than coal. Maryland Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, October 2013

6 How much is too much leakage? For Compressed Natural Gas to immediately reduce climate impacts from heavy-duty vehicles, well-to-wheels leakage must be reduced below 1%. Alvarez, et. al., Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Feb. 2012

7 How high is methane leakage? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1.5% University of Texas, Austin, Environmental Defense Fund, URS Corporation, and Colorado School of Mines, et.al. Measurements of Methane Emissions at Natural Gas Production Sites in the United States Fracked gas production-stage emissions are similar to EPA estimates. Stanford, Harvard, MIT, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, et.al. Methane Leaks from North American Natural Gas Systems. Science Vol February 2014 EPA is underestimating gas sector methane emissions by 50%. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and University of Colorado, Boulder. Methane Emissions Estimates from Airborne Measurements over a Western United States Natural Gas Field Measured leakage rates in fracked Utah gas fields between 6% and 12% National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Colorado, Boulder. Toward a Better Understanding and Quantification of Methane Emissions from Shale Gas Development. April Measured leakage from fracked wells in SW Pennsylvania that were were 2 to 3 orders of magnitude (100-1,000 times) greater than EPA estimates. Howarth, Robert W., Renee Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea. "Methane and the Greenhouse-gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations: A Letter." Climate Change 106 (2011): Estimates lifecycle leakage rates from fracked gas ranges from 3.6% to 7.9%

8 How do we prevent methane leakage? Current Trajectory EPA s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new oil & gas wells EPA s NSPS + 3 cost-effective abatement technologies proposed by NRDC and WRI 1% Leakage Threshold EPA s NSPS + 10 cost-effective abatement technologies proposed by NRDC Source: World Resources Institute, Clearing The Air: Reducing Upstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions From U.S. Natural Gas Systems, 2013

9 What are 10 cost-effective abatement technologies? What: Green Completion Payback Time: yrs payback): $2,180 - $75,620 What: Plunger Lift System Payback Time: yrs. payback): $7,050 - $100,400 What: TEG Dehydrator Emission Controls Payback Time: 0.09 yrs. Profit/well/year (after payback): $7,050 - $100,400 What: Desiccant Dehydrators Payback Time: 2.67 yrs. payback): $2,800 What: Dry Seal Systems Payback Time: yrs. payback): $77,620 - $473,870

10 What are 10 cost-effective abatement technologies? What: Improved Compressor Maintenance Payback Time: yrs Profit/well/year (after payback): $2,460 - $12,170 What: Low-Bleed or No-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers Payback Time: yrs Profit/well/year (after payback): $510 - $1,880 What: Pipeline Maintenance and Repair Payback Time: yrs payback): $39,870 - $53,800 What: Vapor Recovery Units Payback Time: yrs payback): $6,970 - $336,990 What: Leak Monitoring and Repair Payback Time: likely small Profit/well/year (after payback): likely positive

11 Reducing Methane: Low Cost, High Reward Source: Natural Resources Defense Council, Leaking Profits, 2012 It is. critically important for Maryland and the federal government to develop and implement standards to keep the methane leakage rate as low as possible. -Maryland Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, October 2013

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