Ten years of research into methane and air pollutant emissions harmful to the health of the oil and gas industry

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Oil and gas emissions vary widely throughout the supply chain, making mitigation of super-emitters and sources of emissions close to people the top priorities for public health and the climate, according to the results of a literature review by the nonprofit Institute of Energy Science and Policy Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy. “Methane and Health-Damaging Air Pollutants From the Oil and Gas Sector: Bridging 10 Years of Scientific Understanding” is the first systematic review to bridge the gap between research on sources of methane and sources of harmful air pollutant emissions for health across the oil sector and gas supply chain.

“There is unequivocal evidence that we need to quickly and aggressively reduce methane emissions to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate,” said lead author of the journal, PSE Healthy Energy Senior Scientist Drew Michanowicz, DrPH , MPH, CPH. “Because methane is almost always emitted along with other unhealthy air pollutants, we should urgently focus on eliminating methane pollution near people’s places of residence as a essential and cost-effective strategy to protect public health. ”

Overview of conclusions and recommendations

  • Oil and gas sources of methane emissions are almost always sources of unhealthy air pollutants (PADH). However, not all sources of HDAP are sources of methane.
  • The super-emitters of methane and HDAP are present in all sectors of the oil and gas supply chain, clearly proving that substantial emission reductions are possible.
  • To increase public health benefits, prioritize reductions in oil and gas emissions near population centers.
  • Efforts to reduce fugitive emissions (i.e. vents and leaks) throughout the oil and gas supply chain will lead to co-reduction in emissions of methane and some HDAPs.
  • A comprehensive approach to reducing methane and HDAP emissions should include installing the maximum achievable equipment checks, performing routine preventive maintenance, and integrating new monitoring technologies to improve operating practices. and existing maintenance such as leak detection and repair programs.
  • Over the past decade, scientific understanding of oil and gas emissions has increased dramatically. Although additional research gaps remain, calls for additional research should not be used as a barrier to taking immediate action through emission control and monitoring systems to further reduce oil emissions. and gas.
  • There is now unequivocal evidence to support swift and aggressive action to prevent short-term global warming and reduce damage to public health. The abandonment of oil and gas must be managed in such a way that it does not lead to degraded operations and maintenance practices and a potential increase in emissions.

Although the geographic location of methane emissions does not affect their impact on the climate, proximity to sources of air pollutants harmful to health increases risks and impacts on health. In the articles reviewed, the authors found no evidence that the sources of methane emissions are not also sources of unhealthy air pollutants. Researchers found infrastructure, especially in the upstream oil and gas sector, that emitted health-damaging air pollutants without methane.

This result suggests that the health benefits and costs of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector are understated and that reducing these emissions near human populations will ensure that climate change mitigation efforts also benefit public health. However, the results also indicate that efforts to reduce methane emissions will not capture all sources of unhealthy air pollutants. As such, in addition to targeting sources of methane, regulators and risk managers should incorporate strategies that reduce emissions of air pollutants harmful to health, especially from oil and gas infrastructure located near places where people live, work and play.

The authors reviewed 270 peer-reviewed papers on primary data collection efforts published between 2015 and 2020 to identify characteristics of emission sources where emissions harmful to health and climate occur simultaneously and separately. A further review of methane and HDAP research covering the period 2010-2014 is provided in the annex. The report highlights high-impact approaches to controlling emissions in the upstream, middle and downstream parts of the oil and gas sector to protect the climate and public health.

The literature review was authored by Drew R. Michanowicz, DrPH, MPH, CPH; Eric D. Lebel, Ph.D .; Jeremy K. Domen, MS; Lee Ann L. Hill, MPH; Jessie M. Jaeger, MPH, MCP; Jessica E. Schiff; Elena M. Krieger, Ph.D.; Zoya Banan, Ph.D.; Curtis L. Nordgaard, MD; and Seth BC Shonkoff, Ph.D., MPH.


Mapping of methane sources in Paris


More information:
The full review is available at www.psehealthyenergy.org/wp-co… ic-Understanding.pdf

Provided by PSE Healthy Energy

Quote: Literature review: Ten years of research on methane and emissions of air pollutants harmful to the health of the oil and gas industry (2021, 6 October) retrieved on 6 October 2021 from https://phys.org/ news / 2021-10-literature-ten- ans-oil-gaz.html

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