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Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

Posted November 04, 2014 6:46 PM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The Obama administration's climate plan may target the methane leaks from valves, pipes, and other components used to produce natural gas. Methane is the primary component of gas and is 25x more potent than carbon at trapping heat. Valves, according to environment360, can suddenly stick open and be harder to fix due to pumping pressure. The Environmental Protection Agency released a fact sheet, Perform Valve Leak Repair During Pipeline Replacement, in which the agency found that valve repair could achieve an estimated annual methane emission reduction of 2,500 Mcf per 10 pipeline gate valves. In a separate study, the agency found methane emissions could be reduced 1,700 Mcf by repairing 12 leaking couplings and six valves.


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#1

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 12:02 AM

So now it is methane leaks from pipes causing global warming and correction is going to help in some great way. Yet we still have no definitive quantification of methane leaking from the ocean through underwater slides that release hydrates or what happens after the many earthquakes that happen under the sea each and every year. I suspect the leaking pipes are but a mere pittance of the methane mother nature release constantly in the environment and yet is so poorly monitored. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with fixing leaks. The problem is that when it comes to methane leaks we have no idea what mother nature releases and how that release fits into any GW models. In comparison to valve leaks, mother nature leaks, I suspect, will dwarf anything else.

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#2
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 5:16 AM

Natural methane seepage is massive. It renders any pipe leaks insignificant.

This is the newest way to steal and redistribute money, and punish energy companies.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825141457.htm

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#31
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 12:36 PM

if they could tax the ocean....they would, until then they bleed the taxpayers so they can save us

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#32
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 2:43 PM

Hopefully we'll see some common sense show up in Washington DC. Fingers crossed.

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#33
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 2:46 PM

I'm semi optimistic

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#6
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 2:51 PM

well, they have to show some type of return from the money spent on the study of methane created from cattle

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#14
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 11:49 PM

And they never figured out how to fix the cow leaks...

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#16
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 6:09 AM

Well, for once the government is going to address the problem at its source. With a country wide ban on grass.

..... Starting out with a slogan....... "Just say NO to grass".

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#17
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 7:09 AM

On that note, the Medical Mary Jane amendment did fail in FL

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#34
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 2:50 PM
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#19
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 12:32 PM

The methane leaked naturally has been going on forever, more or less. The methane leaked by human resource extraction and combustion has been added in the last century. Therefore it is a component of the pollution emitted by human civilization that is causing the climate to perturb.

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#20
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 1:24 PM

I do not deny human contribution to green house gases. What disturbs me is the fact that the leaks of methane from the oceans is so poorly monitored and calculated properly. You cannot simply say it has always been there so Green house global warming is a human perturbation. The IPCC was critiqued in the past for poor monitoring of ocean releases and yet have not done adequate measuring. Not even seismic activity is used in the models. The isotope signature of methane or any hydrocarbon released naturally from ocean depths will look like "fossil" fuel. Read Kramarat's link. It was only in 2013 they even found these massive leaks on the Atlantic seaboard. Is that because they is more active today than a century ago? We do not know. It really means if we expend a lot of energy fixing small things at great expense, we will have found all the efforts completely futile. Mother nature is by far the largest contributor of green house gases and our models still have not resolved the contribution of nature v human. Until we are sure we are just putting using bandaids on gas leaks. Like I said, I am not denying anything but I do expect to know the results if we embark on expensive solutions. Humans are dangerous to the environment and we should not dump crap into the atmosphere. The fixing of leaky pipes and valves to abate global warming is like using a bucket to stop rain.

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#21
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 2:11 PM

You seem to be arguing that for some reason, natural emissions of methane (and other greenhouse gasses) increased dramatically in the last 100 years or so.

It's reasonable to assume that the global climate and geology was stable at the time we started measuring the atmosphere (or interpolating/extrapolating with confidence conditions prior to our records). We know (most of) the emissions of humans and certain measured effects on atmospheric chemistry of those emissions.

To determine the significance of the leaks in question, compare them to human emissions, not to natural emissions.

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#22
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 2:35 PM

Can you prove there has been no dramatic increase in gas released by geological activity? The problem I have is that they have not been monitoring natural discharges so they really do not know. Ocean slides, hydrate releases, volcanism, earthquakes, etc are extremely poorly monitored. Do you know if the large earthquake off Japan a couple of years ago created any slides? The Storriga slide off Norway is still active and that was 8000 years ago. But it took 7995 years to even detect the problem of gas releases. Numerous slide have happened in the Indian Ocean and Likely all are releasing hydrates. I assume nothing but the climate modelers assume these issues are stable and rather than dive into its complexity choose (it seems) to ignore this type of contribution. If I were to assume anything, it is that the geological formation is not stable and there will be fluctuations in releases of gases.

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#23
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 2:44 PM

The ocean and sea floor are notoriously under-explored. We have to go on the best science we have. Barring discovery of a natural methane smoking gun, it seems most prudent to assume that the natural emissions have been stable overall.

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#3

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 8:08 AM

Two intelligent replies.

I'd say we're done here.

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#9
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 4:30 PM

I actually wasn't aware of the extent of it until I saw a science show on TV about it.

Some researchers were just collecting it in bags from the surface of some inland lake...like steady streams of little methane bubbles.

I see them all the time while fishing, and until I saw the show I thought it was turtles slowly letting air out.

I need to remember to capture some of it and put a lighter to it to make sure.

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#10
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 4:50 PM

Methane releases from the ocean are most often disguised as CO2 or water vapour. The methane is subjected to a lot of oxidation before it reaches the surface:

CH4 +2 O2 = CO2 + 2 H2O

That does not mean you could not collect the methane gas, but it does mean you may not. If you do collect the gases and find it snuffs the flame it may be CO2. Of course if it causes the flame to flare, it is likely methane. Finding methane releases in the ocean is difficult as there are no chimneys at least chimneys of methane that can be found in a single location on a moving ocean. It would be a fun experiment. Methane is easy to collect from a well by simply discharging the water into a large pail and inverting a smaller wide mouthed jar filled with water and inverted over the discharge into the large pail. The bubbles will displace the water in the wide mouth jar and once you have enough replace the lid on the jar while it is still inverted. Then carefully try to ignite the gas when you remove the lid. I wonder if they do something like this with cattle farts? The image just "blows" me away.

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#11
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 5:18 PM

It's not the ocean, but inland ponds and lakes...lots of decaying vegetation and other dead stuff on the bottom. I'm not going to be surprised if it burns.

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#18
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 10:16 AM

I have also seen significant leaks of gas from underground, but I'm not sure if they could be decomposition gasses from underground coal seams (which incidentally was what initially was how gas heating was discovered and allowed gas lighting to be come a practical source of lighting in the 1800's) or from leakage of underground transfer lines or oil sources>

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#4

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 11:33 AM

...and that doesn't include the flaring that takes place during fracking and normal refinery operations...As of last night the voters have spoken, I just wonder if Washington was listening...

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#5

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 2:49 PM

sounds like some work went into this from the Obama Administration as compared to efforts put in by this administration on higher priority matters.

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#7

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 3:50 PM

OK. So will someone please say how they are going to stop cows blowing off?

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#8
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 4:25 PM

Mix Beano into their alfalfa!

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#12
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 6:16 PM

Well they spent a lot of $ to mediate it and came up with putting this

sign on the south end of a north bound cow until they come up with a more permanent solution

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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 2:41 AM

Hahahahahaha!

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#13
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/05/2014 11:23 PM

Exactly---I have wanting to see pictures of a whole field of bovine, levitated in a field, if they were plugged to prevent methane from being released…What a sight that would be..Then we could explode them in mid-air...

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#24

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 5:16 PM

It's amazing the rush to find tiny methane leaks in private industry in order to regulate, fine, and tax, while government sources of methane are treated to "outreach" programs, grants, etc.

http://www.epa.gov/lmop/

Is human activity changing the climate in any significant way? NO.

Real science trumps political science, and the ice core samples have exposed the lie. The global temperature graph has a neat little zoom button and slider.

Do we need to continue working on cleaner, more efficient energy? YES.

But falsehoods should not be created by government and their private sector cronies, that are specifically designed to perpetuate the theft of freedom and treasure!

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Paleoclimatology_IceCores/

Turns out that good old mother earth has been hosting some wild methane swings all on her own. Whodda thunk?

Methane levels from the ice cores:

http://zipcodezoo.com/trends/Trends%20in%20Atmospheric%20Methane.asp

The way they trick us on both methane and CO2 levels is to snatch a section from the ice cores that go back 200, or even 100, years, and offer it as proof that man is destroying the planet. The big picture tells a much different story.

Every "big idea" regarding global climate change involves the theft and redistribution of money, and I'll be damned if that ever changes the composition of our atmosphere.

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#25
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 5:41 PM

It's amazing the rush to find tiny methane leaks in private industry in order to regulate, fine, and tax, while government sources of methane are treated to "outreach" programs, grants, etc.

I don't see anything amazing about it. The incentives are applied as appropriate given the nature of each organization. "Government" can't give itself a tax credit for doing the right thing.

The way they trick us on both methane and CO2 levels is to snatch a section from the ice cores that go back 200, or even 100, years, and offer it as proof that man is destroying the planet. The big picture tells a much different story.

Um, do you realize that that's not noise at the right edge of the atmospheric methane graph you posted? Current measurements are nearly 1800 PPB. Prior to the year 1930, it hasn't been higher than 800. Ever.

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#26
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/06/2014 6:51 PM

Actually, I didn't realize that. However, we've just now discovered methane spewing vents in the Atlantic and around the world...and they are teeming with life! Given the blatant dishonesty that we've been treated to over global warming, I wouldn't be surprised if the atmospheric samplings had been taken directly over these vents.

We don't know what's going on, and I seriously doubt that humans are solely responsible for this methane increase. Should we blame the people of India and have the UN force them to kill and eat the cows that are all over the place?

A sudden spike in methane is interesting and worth investigating, but nothing points to humans killing the planet.

Warming has stopped. There was nothing in the climate models to allow for this. It was supposed to keep getting hotter until we were all dead. Didn't happen.

I find it ironic that the earth wasn't particularly hospitable to humans until we discovered and harnessed fossil fuels, and very quickly made our lives better because of it...way better.

Maybe we should go all Darwin, shut it all down, and let the fittest survive.

Here's a theory that took me 15 minutes to throw together...

Recent volcanic activity in the Artic...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625140649.htm

Melts ice and releases massive amounts of CO2 and methane...

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/13/2138531/nasa-finds-amazing-levels-of-arctic-methane-and-co2-asks-is-a-sleeping-climate-giant-stirring-in-the-arctic/

No human activity required. Stop trusting politicians.

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#35
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/09/2014 11:48 AM

"Stop trusting politicians." Exactly. When it comes to climate science, I trust climate scientists.

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#37
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/09/2014 3:49 PM

Excellent! I posted this over on the UN climate change thread. Check it out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LkMweOVOOI

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#27
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 12:45 AM

The problem with graphs that indicate a small time period and compare it to levels of a longer historical period is that it is like comparing a small weather event to climate change. The last ice age lasted about 100,000 years give or take until about 12000 years ago. There have been about 6 of these glacial cycles and scientist go and collect ice samples from polar regions to try and determine the methane atmospheric levels in a period of time. The levels they encounter do not get into the nitty gritty levels with any accuracy. If there were a clathrate burp of methane released from the earth they would not be able to detect it above the measured average that is used to produce the graphs. There very well could and I will go out on a limb and say highly probably were such burps. We can say the measured level of atmospheric methane since 1950 has seen astounding increases. So there likely have been high levels in the past 500,000 million years. The graphs are a statistical presentation but it is representing the past as a flat line and ignores such anomalies as would be a brief methane burp. The period from 1950 to 2014 ( a mere 64 year period) may be compared to a burp in a geological glacial cycle. I suspect the current levels have been reached many times.

I am not saying humans are not a problem. We are a big part of the problem but we still ignore applying all the difficult science into all the GH models. And I say at risk to us all.

What we are trying to do is peg the current burp as all human. I would say that just perhaps we are looking at some other more sinister source of methane such as a natural release by a clathrate burp. And if you read about clathrates you will find that atmospheric warming exacerbates the problem of hydrate stability. The science is all hell bent on proving human green house releases but ignore the measuring and monitoring of natural sources. Read graphs with a degree of scepticism because they do not show the true picture. There is a famous saying about statistics....

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#30
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 8:39 AM

I found a site where a climate scientist stated that methane had gone to 1800 ppb and beyond in the past, and that it was short lived and not uncommon.

Unfortunately, he went on into a fear mongering rant about this time being different, and because the ocean is slightly warmer, Antarctic methane release could spin out of control into a non-stop loop...wiping out the planet. It was pure doomsday speculation. I wish they would stop doing that.

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#28

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 6:38 AM

Good news!

US methane emissions are down 10.8% since 1990, even with some leaky valves. CO2 is also on the decline.

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2014/01/20/epa-data-natural-gas-fracking-not-causing-methane-spike

Here's the data...assuming we can trust the EPA.

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/inventoryexplorer/#allsectors/allgas/gas/all

I still don't understand how any of this data can be considered accurate, when they completely disregard natural sources. They assume that all atmospheric gasses, (at least the bad ones), are solely human generated, and it's just not true.

Here's some good information. There is no need for the Obama administration to attack the companies that are extracting NG.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/much-ado-about-methane/

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#29

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/07/2014 7:10 AM

Here's the 800,000 year ice core record. There's no telling the exact cause, but near straight line spikes are not uncommon.

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/atm_meth/ice_core_methane.html

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#36
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Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/09/2014 11:56 AM

Look at the scales of those historical graphs. Look at the current measurements. They are multiples of the previous maximums. By definition, this is not natural.

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#38

Re: Methane Leaks to be Targeted as Climate Concern

11/09/2014 5:08 PM

Even with natural ocean vents spewing methane 24/ 7/ 365, the methane level in our atmosphere is 0.000179%.

For the Obama administration to suggest that some leaky valves in the NG industry is going to wipe out the planet, is either extremely stupid or extremely dishonest...I'll go with the latter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth

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