The production of natural gas and oil can result in the release of hydrocarbons and other emissions. Fortunately, effective control technologies exist to reduce air pollution from natural-gas operations.
Most of the reduction in emissions is realized by using techniques and technologies that capture the methane and other hydrocarbons, preventing them from entering the atmosphere. The environmental and economic benefits from these efforts led the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to partner with the industry to create the Natural Gas STAR Program, which promotes voluntary adoption of these cost-effective pollution-control technologies.
Other efforts to reduce air pollution from natural gas operations include improvements made to the diesel engines used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The EPA has strictly regulated the emissions from these engines, resulting in a reduction of approximately 75% during the past decade. Emissions are expected to be reduced by another 90% within the next 5 years.
Larger companies have looked to take this one step further, switching from diesel to natural gas to power hydraulic fracturing operations, greatly reducing air emissions.