Imperial College London

Professor Nigel Brandon OBE FREng

Faculty of Engineering

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering



+44 (0)20 7594 8600n.brandon Website




2.06Faculty BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Crow, DJG and Balcombe, P and Brandon, N and Hawkes, AD},
doi = {10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.048},
journal = {Science of the Total Environment},
pages = {1242--1258},
title = {Assessing the impact of future greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas production},
url = {},
volume = {668},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by the extraction of natural gas are an important contributor to lifecycle emissions and account for a significant fraction of anthropogenic methane emissions in the USA. The timing as well as the magnitude of these emissions matters, as the short term climate warming impact of methane is up to 120 times that of CO 2 . This study uses estimates of CO 2 and methane emissions associated with different upstream operations to build a deterministic model of GHG emissions from conventional and unconventional gas fields as a function of time. By combining these emissions with a dynamic, techno-economic model of gas supply we assess their potential impact on the value of different types of project and identify stranded resources in various carbon price scenarios. We focus in particular on the effects of different emission metrics for methane, using the global warming potential (GWP) and the global temperature potential (GTP), with both fixed 20-year and 100-year CO 2 -equivalent values and in a time-dependent way based on a target year for climate stabilisation. We report a strong time dependence of emissions over the lifecycle of a typical field, and find that bringing forward the stabilisation year dramatically increases the importance of the methane contribution to these emissions. Using a commercial database of the remaining reserves of individual projects, we use our model to quantify future emissions resulting from the extraction of current US non-associated reserves. A carbon price of at least 400 USD/tonne CO 2 is effective in reducing cumulative GHGs by 30–60%, indicating that decarbonising the upstream component of the natural gas supply chain is achievable using carbon prices similar to those needed to decarbonise the energy system as a whole. Surprisingly, for large carbon prices, the choice of emission metric does not have a significant impact on cumulative emissions.
AU - Crow,DJG
AU - Balcombe,P
AU - Brandon,N
AU - Hawkes,AD
DO - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.048
EP - 1258
PY - 2019///
SN - 0048-9697
SP - 1242
TI - Assessing the impact of future greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas production
T2 - Science of the Total Environment
UR -
UR -
VL - 668
ER -