Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

The ecology of natural gas

July 13, 2012
Scientists examine process chain of natural gas, from rural extraction to urban distribution

"Fracking" stories about shale gas extraction hit the news daily, fueling a growing conflagration between environmental protectionism and economic interests. Otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking has become a profitable venture thanks to advances in horizontal drilling technology, opening up large US reservoirs and vastly changing the natural gas market. Touted as a clean energy source and a bridge fuel to transition from fossil fuels, natural gas via fracking is also frought with public health and environmental concerns. A session at the upcoming annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America will look at the natural gas process chain, from extraction and processing to transport and distribution.

In the United States, most shale gas resources lie in the Northeast, South Central and Rocky Mountain regions of the country. Among the largest of these is the Marcellus shale, which underlies a broad swath of the Northeast. Robert Jackson and his colleagues at Duke University have been researching fracking impacts on drinking water, sampling the shallow groundwater systems of more than 200 homeowners, most of them in the Marcellus formation of Pennsylvania and New York. Jackson will be among the presenters discussing the ecological and environmental dimensions of shale gas extraction in the session "Natural Gas: Ecology, Environment and Economics."

"In our first study of 68 homes published in 2011," says Jackson, "we found no evidence of increased salt concentrations or fracturing fluids. But we did find that dissolved methane concentrations were on average 17 times higher for water wells located within 1 kilometer of gas wells."

Jackson's presentation will include additional sampling results taken since the group's May 2011 study.

Shanna Cleveland, with the Conservation Law Foundation, will talk about policy strategies that could encourage cleaner natural gas distribution. Focusing on leaks in the antiquated natural gas pipelines of Massachusetts, Cleveland will draw on data supplied by the state's departments of environmental protection and public utilities.

"In Massachusetts alone," says Cleveland, "leaking pipelines release an estimated 8 - 12 billion cubic feet of methane. Unfortunately, current state and federal policies actually provide disincentives for pipeline owners to find and fix leaks."

Methane, the main constituent of natural gas, can pose a public safety threat and contributes to climate change. Cleveland will talk about how a mechanism called Targeted Infrastructure Recovery Factor (TIRF) could foster repairs by allowing gas companies to recover their capital costs for replacing certain types of pipelines on a yearly basis.

Gas leaks also cause significant changes to the soil. Margaret Hendrick and colleagues at Boston University conducted a study in Boston that looked at the effects of pervasive natural gas leaks from aging pipelines on urban ecosystems. They found that gassed soils often had levels of methane exceeding 90 percent and oxygen levels below 10 percent.

"Soil at leak sites often looks black and viscous, with a crusty substance at its surface," says Hendrick. "Dried out and oxygen-deprived, these soils become inhospitable to many organisms that live in the soil."

The researchers also found that plants at leak sites suffered from higher mortality rates and that methane gas invades plant tissues growing both above and below-ground. Hendrick and her colleagues hope their findings will help city planners and advance understanding of methane's role in global warming.

Robert Howarth, of Cornell University, will summarize the magnitude of methane emissions from all parts of societal use of natural gas as a fuel and compare its greenhouse gas footprint with that of other fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.

"Methane emissions dominate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas," says Howarth, who will also discuss the extent to which methane pollution from natural gas can be reduced.

Other speakers in the session are:

- Robert Ackley, Gas Safety Inc.
- Eric Crosson, Picarro, Inc.
- Adrian Down, Duke University
- Susan Stout, USDA Forest Service
- Lynda Farrell, Pipeline Safety Coalition
- Kenneth Klemow, Wilkes University

Organized Oral Session 3 - Natural Gas: Ecology, Environment and Economics will take place on Monday, August 6 from 1:30 PM - 5 PM in room A 105 of the Oregon Convention Center.

Ecological Society of America


Related Natural Gas Current Events and Natural Gas News Articles


Major class of fracking chemicals no more toxic than common household substances
The "surfactant" chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

U-M students complete Detroit's first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory
Energy use in buildings accounts for nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated in Detroit, while exhaust from cars, trucks and buses is responsible for about 30 percent of the total, according to a new citywide inventory compiled by University of Michigan student researchers.

New policymaking tool for shift to renewable energy
Multiple pathways exist to a low greenhouse gas future, all involving increased efficiency and a dramatic shift in energy supply away from fossil fuels.

In between red light and blue light: Leipzig researchers discover new functionality of molecular light switches
Diatoms play an important role in water quality and in the global climate.

New tracers can identify frack fluids in the environment
Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment.

New tracers can identify frack fluids in the environment
Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment.

Energy Prices and Business Decision-Making in Canada: Preparing for the Energy Future
Canada has abundant energy sources, from vast oil sands to ample hydroelectric capacity, offshore oil, natural gas, and coal.

Natural gas boom will not slow climate change
This market effect erases the advantage of lower emissions from the natural gas itself, according to an unprecedented international comparison of computer simulations.

A global natural gas boom alone won't slow climate change
A new analysis of global energy use, economics and the climate shows that without new climate policies, expanding the current bounty of inexpensive natural gas alone would not slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide over the long term, according to a study appearing today in Nature.

UC Researchers Take a Unique Approach to Monitoring Groundwater Supplies Near Ohio Fracking Sites
A University of Cincinnati research project is taking a groundbreaking approach to monitoring groundwater resources near fracking sites in Ohio. Claire Botner, a UC graduate student in geology, will outline the project at The Geological Society of America's Annual Meeting & Exposition. The meeting takes place Oct. 19-22, in Vancouver.
More Natural Gas Current Events and Natural Gas News Articles

Natural Gas in Nontechnical  Language

Natural Gas in Nontechnical Language
by Rebecca L. Busby (Editor), Institute of Gas Technology (Editor)


An overview of the natural gas process from well head to burnertip, from futures trading to exploration, and the latest cogeneration issues and other product use. Contents: Origins and history of natural gas Exploration principles, tools, and techniques Drilling, production and processing Gas transmission pipeline network Natural gas storage Gas distribution systems Uses for natural gas Regulatory history of the gas industry Gas marketing and sales Future supply and demand for natural gas Glossary.

The Natural Gas Revolution: At the Pivot of the World's Energy Future

The Natural Gas Revolution: At the Pivot of the World's Energy Future
by Robert W. Kolb (Author)


Robert W. Kolb reveals how new gas resources are transforming the global energy industry, redistributing economic and geopolitical power in stunning ways. Kolb’s The Natural Gas Revolution explains the new promise of natural gas to stimulate economies and enrich human life — and objectively assesses the major environmental risks that accompany fracking, horizontal drilling, and today’s massive new LNG infrastructures. He places natural gas in broader context, clearly and carefully explaining what it will really mean to global economics, geopolitics, investors, the environment, and consumers. He explains the key technologies that have enabled access to huge new natural gas sources, and illuminates the remarkable implications of larger, more widely distributed, and more...

Natural Gas Trading: From Natural Gas Stocks to Natural Gas Futures- Your Complete, Step-by-Step Guide to Natural Gas Trading

Natural Gas Trading: From Natural Gas Stocks to Natural Gas Futures- Your Complete, Step-by-Step Guide to Natural Gas Trading


From Natural Gas Stocks To Natural Gas Futures— Discover Step-By-Step How To Trade Natural Gas

This Book Is The Ultimate Guide To Natural Gas Trading

In this book, you’ll learn how the natural gas market works and how to trade natural gas. You’ll learn about the key factors that drive the price of natural gas, and you’ll be taken—step-by-step—through several ways to trade natural gas including via stocks, options, futures and ETFs.

Here are some of the specifics you'll learn...

- Why natural gas trading can be risky (but potentially very profitable!) and how the demand for natural gas has spiked recently-- Chapter 1

- The 3 key factors that drive the price of natural gas-- And how to use them to your advantage--...

Understanding Today's Natural Gas Business

Understanding Today's Natural Gas Business
by Bob Shively (Author), John Ferrare (Author)


Updated 5/2011 - A comprehensive overview of the natural gas industry. The book covers topics ranging from how natural gas developed and the physical system, to end users and deregulation, and the major players to market dynamics. A perfect introduction to the industry for new hires or a resource book for any level industry player.

Handbook of Liquefied Natural Gas

Handbook of Liquefied Natural Gas
by Saeid Mokhatab (Author), John Y. Mak (Author), Jaleel V. Valappil (Author), David A. Wood (Author)


Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a commercially attractive phase of the commodity that facilitates the efficient handling and transportation of natural gas around the world. The LNG industry, using technologies proven over decades of development, continues to expand its markets, diversify its supply chains and increase its share of the global natural gas trade. The Handbook of Liquefied Natural Gas is a timely book as the industry is currently developing new large sources of supply and the technologies have evolved in recent years to enable offshore infrastructure to develop and handle resources in more remote and harsher environments. It is the only book of its kind, covering the many aspects of the LNG supply chain from liquefaction to regasification by addressing the LNG industries'...

Trading Natural Gas: Cash, Futures, Options and Swaps

Trading Natural Gas: Cash, Futures, Options and Swaps
by Fletcher J. Sturm (Author)


This great "how to" book covers the various mechanics of natural gas trading, including the physical (cash) market for natural gas production, transportation, distribution, and consumption. The heart of the text is the definition and demonstration of financial trading tools and techniques. It closes with discussion of more complex structures of trading and the author's philosophy on how a risk management department should function within a natural gas trading company.

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World
by Russell Gold (Author)


Russell Gold, a brilliant and dogged investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal, has spent more than a decade reporting on one of the biggest stories of our time: the spectacular, world-changing rise of “fracking.” Recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award for his work, Gold has traveled along the pipelines and into the hubs of this country’s energy infrastructure; he has visited frack sites from Texas to North Dakota; and he has conducted thousands of interviews with engineers and wildcatters, CEOs and roughnecks, environmentalists and politicians. He has also sifted through reams of engineering reports, lawsuit transcripts, and financial filings. The result is an essential book—a commanding piece of journalism, an astounding...

Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition

Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition
by Arthur J. Kidnay (Author), William R. Parrish (Author), Daniel G. McCartney (Author)


Offering indispensable insight from experts in the field, Fundamentals of Natural Gas Processing, Second Edition provides an introduction to the gas industry and the processes required to convert wellhead gas into valuable natural gas and hydrocarbon liquids products. The authors compile information from the literature, meeting proceedings, and their own work experiences to give an accurate picture of where gas processing technology stands today as well as to highlight relatively new technologies that could become important in the future. The second edition of this bestselling text reflects important advances in gas processing technologies, including those related to liquefied natural gas (LNG). New to the Second Edition Background information in five new chapters that cover processing...

Fundamentals of Investing in Oil and Gas

Fundamentals of Investing in Oil and Gas
by Chris Termeer (Author)


This book opens a unique and rare perspective of the Oil and Gas industry that focuses on its history and the creation of the marketplace, how oil and gas are found, and a detailed explanation on the essential operations behind extracting (otherwise known as the Upstream Sector of the industry). From there, the book enters;Transportation of moving crude products from the field to the refinery, otherwise known as the Midstream Sector of the industry. The Refining or Downstream Sector of the industry is then thoroughly explained in aspects of the creation of gasoline and other highly demanded products. Only after the complete industry is explained, the book discusses present and likely future trends that every investor should want to know.

Handbook of Natural Gas Transmission and Processing, Second Edition

Handbook of Natural Gas Transmission and Processing, Second Edition
by Saeid Mokhatab (Author), William A. Poe (Author)


A unique, well-documented, and forward-thinking work, the second edition of Handbook of Natural Gas Transmission and Processing continues to present a thoroughly updated, authoritative, and comprehensive description of all major aspects of natural gas transmission and processing. It provides an ideal platform for engineers, technologists, and operations personnel working in the natural gas industry to get a better understanding of any special requirements for optimal design and operations of natural gas transmission pipelines and processing plants. First book of its kind that covers all aspects of natural gas transmission and processing Provides pivotal updates on the latest technologies, which have not been addressed in-depth in any existing books Offers practical advice for design and...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com