This report has been produced to inform the Environment Agency and other industry experts. It informs them about the options available for quantifying the amounts of fugitive methane released to air from certain onshore oil and gas operations.
The emphasis is on exploratory operations to extract methane from shale by hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as ‘shale gas operations’. Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas is one example of using ‘unconventional’ methods to extract gaseous hydrocarbons. Similar considerations for quantifying fugitive methane apply to other ‘unconventional’ exploratory operations (e.g. for coal-bed methane), so the report is relevant to ‘unconventional gas’ operations in general. The report focuses on methods for monitoring fugitive methane, and on proposing monitoring efforts that are proportionate to a site’s characteristics and environmental risks.
There are several reasons for quantifying fugitive releases of methane. These include reporting of emissions, assessing health and environmental impacts, and determining if emission controls are needed or effective.