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Report: Finding, Fixing Gas Leaks a Win-Win-Win

The oil and gas industry loses $1.3 billion worth of product through emissions each year. (Datu Research)
The oil and gas industry loses $1.3 billion worth of product through emissions each year. (Datu Research)
April 12, 2017

PITTSBURGH - Finding and fixing natural-gas leaks creates jobs, grows business and helps the environment, according to a new report.

Leak detection and repair, or L-DAR, is a growing industry, with at least 60 L-DAR companies providing services to oil and gas producers in 45 states. More than half are considered small businesses and 37 percent were founded within the past six years. Andrew Williams, senior state regulatory and legislative affairs manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, which commissioned the report, pointed out that 38 of those companies are operating in Pennsylvania.

"Of the 38, there are actually five of those companies that are headquartered here in Pennsylvania," he said, "and at least two of those headquarters are technically small businesses, homegrown businesses that started and still operate here in Pennsylvania."

The report said fixing gas leaks is not only critical for slowing climate change but also saves money for the gas and oil industry, which loses an estimated $1.3 billion worth of gas a year through emissions.

According to Marcy Lowe, president and chief executive of Datu Research, which compiled the report, rules and regulations to control emissions are helping drive this emerging industry.

"In states that had regional or statewide emissions rules," she said, "the companies reported pretty high growth rates, between 5 percent and 30 percent."

Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed new rules to reduce methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities in Pennsylvania. New federal methane rules are being challenged in court and by the Trump administration. However, Williams emphasized that doesn't make the need to control methane emissions go away.

"The transition away from regulation at the federal side only puts bigger opportunity and focus on the possibilities to develop state-based solutions," he said.

Williams added that new and developing technologies are making it easier and more cost-effective to monitor and fix gas leaks, from the well to the consumer.

The Datu report is online at edf.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA