Over 30 oil and gas facilities in the Permian Basin (Texas and New Mexico) – well pads, pipelines, compressor stations and processing facilities – were observed “persistently” emitting large volumes of methane over three years of aerial surveys carried out by the Environmental Defense Fund and Carbon Mapper.
These Texas and New Mexico “super-emitters” account for .001% of the Permian Basin’s oil and gas infrastructure but emit around 100,000 tons of methane per year, the climate equivalent of half a million cars. Methane is the second-biggest cause of climate change, after carbon dioxide. Methane’s high heat-trapping potential and relatively short atmospheric lifespan means cutting these emissions has an outsized impact on the global climate.
“The magnitude of emissions coming from a handful of methane sources in one of the top oil and gas producing regions illustrates the opportunity to make significant near-term progress toward the stated methane reduction goals of the US, other countries and companies around the world,” said Riley Duren, CEO of Carbon Mapper.
Last year, the U.S. EPA proposed the first federal regulation targeting methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities, and will introduce a supplemental proposal this spring for routine flaring and smaller wells. The United States also joined a voluntary global methane pledge to slash methane by 30% below 2020 levels in eight years. States are also imposing new rules.
An often-overlooked issue with leakage pathways and unsealed wellbores is water quality. Aquifers, already stressed by drought and subject to over pumping, can be contaminated due to poor well integrity. One of the primary groundwater systems in the western United States, the Ogallala Aquifer, reaches from South Dakota to Texas, overlapping the Permian basin region.
Repairing leaks offers companies an immediate opportunity to help achieve U.S. and international methane reduction targets and save around $26 million in escaped natural gas. Additionally, sealing leaks in oil and gas wells is vital to protecting our aquifers that provide clean water for farming, consumers, and industry needs.
BioSqueeze® offers a permanent solution that seals leakage pathways to prevent fugitive emissions and aquifer contamination. Unlike other toxic remediation technologies, BioSqueeze uses natural biomineralization which poses no threat to aquifers.
May 11, 2023
In January 2023 Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland established an Orphaned Wells Program Office with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to invest in orphan well cleanup to reduce methane emissions while supporting employment and economic growth....