Report: Much Industry-Produced Methane Wasted in Ohio

By Nadia Ramlagan
Ohio News Connection

Ohio oil and gas companies wasted $93 million worth of natural gas in 2019, enough to meet the yearly energy demands of the state’s most populous cities, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Sarah Spence, executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, said tighter state regulations and regular inspections would prevent methane – the main component of natural gas and a major contributor to global warming – from being leaked, vented or flared from wells, or from pipes during the transportation process.

“It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – when we are in a situation where we are finding more and more ways to use energy, that we’re letting an energy source just kind of escape out into the atmosphere,” Spence said.

According to the analysis, the methane wasted from Ohio’s more than 4,400 active wells translated into nearly $1.4 million in lost tax and royalty revenue to the state in 2019 alone. Spence said the lost funding would otherwise have supported policies and programs residents rely on for public health and safety.

She said the Environmental Protection Agency is currently in the process of establishing federal rules aimed at reducing methane emissions from oil and gas facilities nationwide.

“We’re expecting them to be finalized later this fall,” Spence said. “They have gone through several public comment periods, testimony. They are going back and looking through all of those things to see if there are tweaks or changes that need to be made to the rules.”

Methane mitigation is emerging as a fast-growing industry. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the sector already has roughly a dozen companies across Ohio, including seven company headquarters, six manufacturing facilities and five service firm locations to help oil and gas well operators reduce leaking.

Pictured at top: A shale gas drilling site. (AP Photo | Keith Srakocic, File)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.