RESEARCHERS: Flaring Doesn’t Always Work as Intended

Methane Might Be a Bigger Climate Problem Than Thought, Study Finds

September 29, 2022 story in The New York Times by Henry Fountain:

The oil industry practice of burning unwanted methane is less effective than previously assumed, scientists said Thursday, resulting in new estimates for releases of the greenhouse gas in the United States that are about five times as high as earlier ones. Improving efficiency and ensuring that all flares remain lit would result in annual emissions reductions in the United States equal to taking nearly 3 million cars off the road each year, the scientists said.

Henry Fountain | New York Times | September 29, 2022

“Flares have been kind of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ But they actually matter more for climate than we realized.”

researcher Eric A. Kort, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Michigan

The new research found that flaring was actually far less effective, especially when unlit flares were taken into account. Emissions from improper flaring accounted for as much as 10 percent of all methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, the scientists said. The findings were published in the journal Science. They found that flares that were burning destroyed only about 95 percent of methane, not 98 percent. And they found that in some basins as much as 5 percent of flares were unlit. That brought the overall efficiency down to about 91 percent.

Henry Fountain | New York Times | September 29, 2022

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RESEARCHERS: Flaring Doesn’t Always Work as Intended

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