Steve September 16, 2020
the-us-oil-and-gas-industry’s-methane-problem-is-catching-up-with-it
A laid-off oilfield worker's vest and gloves hang on a fence post in front of an idled pump jack in Eddy County, New Mexico

Read time: 13 mins

For years, the oil and gas industry has been able to downplay, or outright ignore, the problem of methane. Methane is an invisible gas, and lax state and federal regulations in the U.S. have allowed oil and gas producers to self-report how much of this potent planet-warming gas leaks from its supply chain, which researchers have repeatedly found is a lot more than the industry was admitting to.

But improved technologies, particularly from satellites, have allowed the world to increasingly fact-check industry numbers, shining a light on the true climate impact of natural gas, which is primarily methane. These days, methane emissions have become an industry black eye, to the point that major players are now clamoring for regulations after the Trump administration recently finalized the rollback of Obama-era rules meant to reduce methane leaks from oil and gas.

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