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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jun 29, 2013 11:48 PM Flag

    Methane scrutiny in Obama climate plan may cost drillers


    Methane scrutiny in Obama climate plan may cost drillers

    June 28, 2013 at 7:00 am by Bloomberg

    Riding shotgun in a Toyota 4Runner rigged up with a carbon-fiber pipe and a spectrometer, Duke University researcher Rob Jackson trolled through Washington searching for evidence that natural gas is not quite the climate champion President Barack Obama claimed this week.

    He was replicating a study he did in Boston, measuring leaks from creaky natural gas pipes. In addition to being a possible safety risk, methane, the key component of natural gas, is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. And leaks may undercut much of the climate benefits of gas.

    “First and foremost this is a greenhouse-gas question,” Jackson said as he drove near the Capitol. “What we are trying to find out is how big a problem this is for cities.”

    In a climate plan released with a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, Obama called for an accounting of leaks across the natural gas production and transport sector. The address was mostly upbeat for gas, highlighting the benefits of shifting from coal, and shares of gas companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) and Cabot Oil & Gas Co. (COG) rose.

    “We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions,” Obama said. “It’s the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution.”

    Fine Print

    Included in the fine print of the White House climate plan, however, are measures that could complicate the industry’s growth, such as a closer look at the scope of leaks from gas wells, pipelines and compressor plants. Depending on what it finds, new regulations could be imposed.

    Obama also called for new and upgraded pipelines to reduce leaks. And an “interagency methane strategy” was announced to get a better handle on emissions data and identifying technologies and opportuniti

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