A new study has found that newly-drilled unconventional wells in Pennsylvania registered more leaks than older and conventional ones. The study relied on state inspection reports carried on 41,000 wells.
The findings hint that the methane gas leaks may prove a setback to fracking across the United States, noted the lead author of the study Anthony Ingraffea, an engineering professor at Cornell University. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study on Monday, reported Seattle Times.
However, energy firms were predictably up in arms against the report. Travis Windle, a spokesman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said that the study “reflects Ingraffea’s clear pattern of playing fast and loose with the facts.”
The Marcellus shale, which extends across New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, contains rich deposits of natural gas that were difficult to extract using conventional methods.
The study involved 4 scientists reviewed over 75,000 state inspections on gas wells that were installed in Pennsylvania from 2000 onwards. The older wells, which refer to those that were sunk before 2009, reported a leak rate of 1 percent. Most of these wells were drilled traditionally, meaning straight downwards. Unconventional wells are those that are drilled horizontally and started emerging in 2006.
The research found out that newer traditional wells that were sunk after 2009 reported a leak rate of around 2 percent while that for unconventional wells stood at around 6 percent. For the wells that were horizontally drilled before or after 2009 in north-eastern region of Pennsylvania, the leak rate stood at up to 10 percent.
The scientists involved in the study couldn’t however say where the leaked methane dissolved into, in the air or water, which may potentially worsen global warming. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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