Methane plumes have been rising from above oil and gas fields since the first oil wells were drilled, adding to the amount of methane in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
Methane concentrations in the atmosphere are concerning because it’s the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas (GHG) and one of the most potent GHG’s in the atmosphere. Methane accounts for about 10.2% of the total GHG emissions and it is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after its release.
Experts estimate there may be as many as 750,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania alone. And according to the EPA, the number of abandoned onshore wells in the U.S. range from 1.5 - 3 million. Off shore there are over 28,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Many are releasing methane the main component of natural gas.
Reducing methane emissions and the industry’s rate of oil and gas well abandonment are problems that need to be tackled by government officials, legislators and industry leaders. Legislative and regulatory changes that will have a lasting effect on our natural resources and climate are urgently needed.
Raising awareness about the scale and impact of methane is essential to promote policy change. Releasing Methane will provide a visualization of the issues surrounding abandoned oil and gas wells to promote solutions which are urgently needed in order to successfully address climate change.
Oil and gas wells need to be plugged and re-plugged, for the life of the planet.