Onshore Petroleum and Natural Gas Operations on Federal and Tribal Lands in the United States: Analysis of Emissions and Abatement Opportunities

ICF for the Environmental Defense Fund

[EDF Press Release] An in-depth analysis by ICF International estimates that fugitive and vented losses from oil and natural operations amounted to over 65 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2013. This gas would be worth more than $360 million at current prices.

Top findings

  • Oil and gas companies operating on federal and tribal lands are losingenough natural gas each year through leaks and intentional venting and flaring equal more than$360 million at current market prices. This is enough natural gas to meet the heating and cooking needs of 1.6 million homes.
  • These losses led to over 1 million tons of methane emitted from oil and natural gas operations on federal and tribal lands in 2013, representing about 12% of the nation’s methane emissions. EDF has calculated that  this much methane is equivalent to the greenhouse gas pollution from 5.6 million cars.
  • Companies are usually not required to pay royalties when natural gas extracted from federal lands is lost prior to the production meter. Natural gas losses on federal lands in 2013 had a value of $32 million in taxpayer royalties, based on gas at $4/Mcf and a 12.5% royalty rate.
  • The report estimates that companies can reduce oil and gas methane emissions from federal and tribal lands, using available methane mitigation opportunities, by nearly 40 percent at a net annual savings of $0.62 per thousand cubic feet of gas (Mcf) reduced on federal lands, and a net annual cost of $0.25 per Mcf reduced on tribal lands (less than a penny per Mcf produced).
  • These cost effective methane emissions reduction practices identified include frequent leak inspection and repair (LDAR) programs, which are already being implemented in many areas…

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