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EPA revises natural gas production leak estimates downwards

07 May 2013

A mid-April report from the US Environmental Protection Agency shows significant reductions in the estimate of how much methane leaks during natural gas production. The agency now says that tighter pollution controls resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through to 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. 

This is a 20% reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.

The EPA revisions came even though natural gas production has grown by nearly 40% since 1990. The industry has boomed in recent years, mainly due to shale gas exploitation.

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