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June 08, 2022

Science Committee Majority Staff Report Finds Oil and Gas Sector Fails to Quantify and Address Super-Emitting Methane Leaks

(Washington, DC) – Today, during the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's hearing, “Detecting and Quantifying Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Sector,” a Majority staff report on the oil and gas sector’s approach to addressing methane emissions was submitted for the record.

The staff report, “Seeing CH4 Clearly: Science-Based Approaches to Methane Monitoring in the Oil and Gas Sector,” assesses the sector’s use of Methane Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) technologies to achieve rapid and large-scale reductions in methane emissions from their operations. The report also identifies opportunities for the Federal research and development enterprise to play a role in advancing LDAR technology and facilitating collaboration on reducing and quantifying methane emissions.

The report has three key findings:

1.     Oil and gas companies are failing to address super-emitting leaks.

2.     Oil and gas companies are failing to use quantification data to mitigate methane leak emissions.

3.     Oil and gas companies are deploying innovative LDAR technologies in a limited and inconsistent manner.

The report also uses internal company data obtained from the Committee’s investigation to confirm that the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory significantly underestimates the true methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

The Committee’s investigation into methane leak and detection programs began early last year. In December 2021, Chairwoman Johnson sent letters to ten operators in the Permian requesting information and documents on companies’ LDAR programs and methane emissions data. All of the operators responded to the Chairwoman’s request.

“The findings of this report make clear that thus far the oil and gas sector is not taking the steps necessary to significantly reduce methane emissions, particularly ‘super-emitting’ leaks that make up much of the sector’s emissions,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “The sector’s approach does not reflect the latest scientific evidence on methane leaks. I am disappointed that the sector is underutilizing innovative Methane Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) technologies such as aerial flyover and satellite sensors, drones, and ground-based continuous monitoring sensors, which can help achieve swift, large-scale emission reductions. We simply cannot achieve our emission reduction goals if we do not address methane leaks happening within our own country. The oil and gas companies have a key opportunity—and a responsibility—to be a part of the solution as the we work to meet our emission reduction targets under the Global Methane Pledge. To address the climate crisis, we must push forward with solutions rooted in science. As Chairwoman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology I will continue to prioritize legislation to ensure we have the technology and tools available to address super-emitting leaks and meet the urgency of the climate crisis.” 


A copy of the full report can be found here.

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