Environmental Research Letters

Shale gas production: potential versus actual greenhouse gas emissions
Environmental Research Letters (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shale gas production and use are controversial. Here we assess the level of GHG emissions from shale gas well hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States during 2010. Data from each of the approximately 4000 horizontal shale gas wells brought online that year are used to show that about 900 Gg CH4 of potential fugitive emissions were generated by these operations, or 228 Mg CH4 per well—a figure inappropriately used in analyses of the GHG impact of shale gas. In fact, along with simply venting gas produced during the completion of shale gas wells, two additional techniques are widely used to handle these potential emissions: gas flaring and reduced emission ‘green’ completions. The use of flaring and reduced emission completions reduce the levels of actual fugitive emissions from shale well completion operations to about 216 Gg CH4, or 50 Mg CH4 per well, a release substantially lower than several widely quoted estimates. Production of shale gas and specifically, the associated hydraulic fracturing operations have not materially altered the total GHG emissions from the natural gas sector. Furthermore, for the vast majority of contemporary shale gas wells, the revenues gained from using reduced emissions completions to capture the gas produced during a typical flowback cover the cost of executing such completions.

La prochaine fois qu’un éco-catastrophiste vous dira qu’il ne faut pas exploiter le gaz de shiste car les fuites des puits de forage contribuent aux réchauffement climatique, vous pourrez lui dire qu’il a tort et lui montrer cette étude du Massachusetts Institute of Technology.