London - A report published by the London-based Centre for Policy Studies has claimed that previous estimates of methane leakage in shale gas production have been seriously over-estimated.
"The facts about fugitive methane" by Elizabeth and Richard Muller argued against the claims that methane, the main component of natural gas, has a high greenhouse potential.
They say that over a 100-year time span, an implausible 12% of the produced natural gas used today would have to leak in order to negate an advantage over coal.
The best current estimates for the average leakage across the whole supply chain are below 3% and even at 3% leakage natural gas would produce less than half the warming of coal averaged over the 100 years following emission.
The Mullers also argue that an additional reason to produce electric power from natural gas is that the legacy advantage of natural gas is enormous. After 100 years, only 0.03% of leaked gas remains in the atmosphere, compared to 36% for remnant carbon dioxide.
Elizabeth and Richard Muller said: “The concerns over fugitive methane is based on the following true but easily misinterpreted facts about methane Legacy warming from fugitive methane is minuscule compared to that of carbon dioxide.
“Average leakage today is far below dangerous levels.”
(Image source: Frack Off)