A recent sampling of air pollution in Boulder Colorado discovered an unusual amount of methane that was linked to emissions from a nearby natural gas field.. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, in Boulder, investigated and discovered a higher than industry standard loss of gas into the atmosphere from the surrounding natural gas field.
The findings have been released in a study estimating natural gas producers in the area of Boulder Colorado are losing up to 4% of their natural gas production into the atmosphere. This does not take into account the loss from leakages in pipelines and distribution.
Of particular note is evaluation and modelling of information regarding fracturing shale deposits to get at natural gas deposits. Research indicates, leakage from flow back during initial fracturing of a shale gas deposit are the greatest source of methane escaping into the atmosphere. The volume of escaping methane from fracturing is estimated to be 30% more to fully twice what is results from conventional gas.
A study by the National Centre for Atmospheric Research released in September 2011, concluded that use of natural gas instead of coal will increase not decrease atmospheric temperatures. No question about it natural gas stinks.
View February 7, 2012 Nature.com article
View Coal to gas: the influence of methane leakage (PDF)
View Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations (PDF)
View Hydrocarbon emissions characterization in the Colorado Front Range - A pilot study
View Venting and leaking of methane from shale gas development: response to Cathles et al. (PDF)