Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Methane Emissions in U.S. Probably Top Estimates: Study

Jim Snyder, Bloomberg
U.S. emissions of methane — a greenhouse gas — are probably 50 percent higher than current estimates show, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The study estimated emissions in 2007 and 2008, using measurements on the ground, in telecommunications towers and from aircraft for a comprehensive inventory of the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. It found that the U.S. now underestimates methane releases from the raising of livestock and the extraction of oil and natural gas…

Emissions of methane, the main component of natural gas, have newfound prominence with the rise of hydraulic fracturing and the sharp growth of oil and natural gas production in the U.S. In the fracking process, water, sand and chemicals are shot underground to break apart rocks and free trapped natural gas or oil.
(25 November 2013)
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314392110

Top 10 beneficiaries of fracturing dollars in Congress

Simone Sebastian, Fuelfix
Congressional campaign contributions from the hydraulic fracturing industry have soared with the shale energy boom, jumping nearly 180 percent between the 2004 and 2012 campaign cycles, according to a new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The hydraulic fracturing industry, defined as trade groups that support fracturing and companies that operate fractured wells, contributed nearly $12 million to House and Senate candidates during the 2012 election cycle, according to the report released this week. That grew from $4.3 million eight years earlier.

Legislators from districts and states that have fracturing activity, including many in Texas, were the biggest beneficiaries of the growing flood of dollars into D.C. Those candidates received $6.9 million during the 2012 campaign cycle, compared to $2.1 for the 2004 cycle.

“Like many industries under increasing scrutiny, the fracking industry has responded by ratcheting up campaign donations to help make new friends in Congress,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, in a written statement. “As CREW’s report shows, the fracking boom isn’t just good for the industry, but also for congressional candidates in fracking districts.”…
(22 November 2013)

From sunset to new dawn

The Economist
Capitalists, not just greens, are now questioning how significant the benefits of shale gas and oil will be for America. The new sceptics are missing the big picture…

Some pessimists worry about the speed at which shale-bed wells run dry. David Hughes, a geologist at the Post Carbon Institute, a greenish think-tank, says the combination of gas’s low price and the heavy spending needed to keep it flowing casts doubt on whether the exploitable reserves of unconventional oil and gas are as big as they are fracked up to be. Optimists argue that the fast decline rate has come as no surprise, and that the technology, and the industry’s experience in deploying it efficiently, are improving fast enough to mitigate much of the effect of weak prices. “Each stage of fracking is significantly evolving,” says Rick Grafton, an oil and gas veteran at Grafton Asset Management, an investment firm. Yet he concedes that while gas prices remain at historic lows, it will remain unattractive to invest in wells that produce only gas—as opposed to ones that produce oil or a mix of gas and “natural-gas liquids” (NGLs) such as butane and propane…
(16 November 2013)

Colorado creates rules to reduce fracking emissions

Colorado announced proposed rules on Monday designed to reduce emissions during oil and gas operations in an agreement with drillers that addresses one key environmental concern surrounding the U.S. oil and gas boom.

The western state’s Air Pollution Control Division proposed new regulations to reduce the release of methane during production and transport of natural gas in a deal with energy producers Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy, Encana Corp and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The regulations, a first for a U.S. state according to environmentalists, would require operators to perform frequent checks for leaks using infrared cameras and other technologies…
(18 November 2013)

Boom city keeps optimism as gas drilling slows

Andrew Maykuth, AP via Fuelfix
The Marcellus Shale industry, which arrived in this northern Pennsylvania city five years ago and turned Williamsport into the seventh-fastest-growing area in the nation, appears to have lost some momentum…
(25 November 2013)

Americans Uninformed About Fracking Says New Study

Bobby Magill, Climate Central
Most Americans have heard little or nothing of the oil and gas production process called hydraulic fracturing, and many don’t know if they support or oppose it, according to a new paper by researchers from Oregon State, George Mason and Yale universities.

The research, published this week, is based on questions about fracking included in the 2012 biennial Climate Change in the American Mind survey, which gauges the public’s understanding of issues associated with climate change…
(21 November 2013)