(Bloomberg) — Louisiana is investigating the source of a cloud of methane that was spotted from space near multiple natural gas pipelines.
The state began its probe after Bloomberg News contacted the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources about a concentration of the planet-warming gas detected May 28 by a European Space Agency satellite. The plume had an emissions rate of 44 tons of methane an hour and was the most severe detected in the US since March 19, according to an analysis of the data by Kayrros SAS.If the release lasted an hour at the rate estimated by the geoanalytics firm, it would have roughly the same short-term impact as the annual emissions from about 800 US cars. A second plume identified the same day by the satellite that was roughly 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of the original release didn’t have enough information for Kayrros to estimate its emissions rate.
Halting methane releases from fossil fuel operations is one of the most important steps that can be taken to slow global warming. Venting and non-emergency flaring of methane from oil and gas should be significantly reduced or eliminated to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the International Energy Agency.
The release under investigation likely originated within 6 miles of gas pipelines owned by Kinder Morgan Inc. and Boardwalk Pipelines LP and about 8 miles from an Energy Transfer pipeline, according to Kayrros. None of the three operators contacted by Bloomberg said they were responsible. Louisiana’s Department of Natural…
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