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Executive Summary – Methane is an important climate change forcing greenhouse gas (GHG) with a short‐term impact many times greater than carbon dioxide. Methane comprised 9% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2011 according to the U.S. EPA Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emission and Sinks: 1990‐2011, and would comprise a substantially higher portion based on a shorter timescale measurement. Recent research also suggests that mitigation of short‐term climate forcers such as methane is a critical component of a comprehensive response to climate change. Emissions from the oil and gas industry are among the largest anthropogenic sources of U.S. methane emissions. At the same time, there are many ways to reduce emissions of fugitive and vented methane from the oil and gas industry and, because of the value of the gas that is conserved, some of these measures actually save money or have limited net cost.
Abatement Opportunities – By volume, the largest opportunities target leak detection and repair of fugitive emissions (“leaks”) at facilities and gas compressors, reduced venting of associated gas, and replacement of high‐emitting pneumatic devices.
Co‐Benefits – Reducing methane emissions will also reduce ‐ at no extra cost‐conventional pollutants that can harm public health and the environment. The methane reductions projected here would also result in a 44% reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) associated with methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.