The production, transportation, and distribution of natural gas can result in the release of methane.

Some of the main sources of methane emissions from the natural gas supply chain include:

  • Venting and flaring of natural gas during oil and gas production. This is the intentional release of natural gas into the atmosphere to reduce pressure in a well or to dispose of gas that cannot be economically or technically recovered.
  • Leaks in pipelines and other equipment used to transport and distribute natural gas.
  • Methane emissions from storage facilities.
  • Releases during the process of liquefying natural gas for export.

The exact amount of methane emissions from the natural gas supply chain is difficult to quantify, but recent research suggests it is being significantly underestimated. Our work investigates these sources and improves scientific evidence-based understanding of methane emissions throughout the natural gas supply chain.

Better data and more robust research can help inform companies and governments in implementing a variety of strategies to reduce these emissions. Solutions might include leak detection and repair programs, equipment renewal, low-emitting technologies, and capturing and using vented or flared gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.