"WASHINGTON - Methane continues to escape at a high rate from oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin, according to an aerial survey released Tuesday that detected major methane plumes from 40% of 900 sites that were measured.
The latest research conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund via helicopter during the first two weeks of November found that 14% of those plumes were the result of malfunctioning flares.
Researchers also found that at one-third of smaller wells significant emissions persisted for days. The aerial survey of the largest U.S. oilfield showed that leaks arose from different pieces of equipment at different times.
This was the eighth aerial survey conducted by EDF's PermianMAP initiative, which monitors methane from the upstream, downstream and midstream operations in the oilfield. The survey comes weeks after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first regulations targeting methane from the country's existing oil and gas facilities."