‘Sleuthing Scientists’ Name Names in Search for U.S. ‘Oil Field Fugitives’
“Oil field fugitives” are escaping from hydraulic fracturing sites across the United States, but “sleuthing scientists” are hot on their trail, Climate Central reports.
“The oil field fugitives aren’t people, of course, but gases—methane, benzene, toluene, xylene, and other volatile organic compounds,” Magill writes. “Some of them cause cancer. Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a greenhouse gas that meddles with the climate, forcing a lot of warming in the atmosphere.”
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Magill goes through the practical factors in front-line oil and gas operations that lead to fugitive emissions and describes a landmark study in Utah, recently reported in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, that identifies the specific types of oil field equipment that are responsible for the leaks.
The study is important because “it names names,” said Cornell University’s Anthony Ingraffea. “Dehumidifiers, separators, compressors.”