Based on measurements from mobile methane detectors driven around in a Dodge truck, the study found that just the drilling part of the industry in the B.C. portion of the Montney Formation, a 29,850 square-kilometre siltstone area in Western Canada, is releasing 111,800 tonnes of methane a year into the atmosphere. That is equivalent to burning more than 4.5 million tonnes of coal or putting more than two million cars on the road. Half of B.C.’s fracked gas currently comes from the Montney. The study did not look at methane leaks from pipelines or gas processing plants. “If we had done a more detailed survey of emissions from all sources, including gas migration from groundwater and the soil, we would be talking about a much larger figure than 111,800 tonnes,” said John Werring, a co-author of the study and senior scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation. In contrast the B.C. government estimates that methane emissions from all sources in the oil and gas sector total around 78,000 tonnes a year. One of the nation’s leading centres on greenhouse gas detection, the FluxLab at St. Francis Xavier University, teamed up with the David Suzuki Foundation to do the B.C. study after scientists identified the extent of methane leaks from hydraulic fracturing as a large data gap in 2012. The B.C.
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