Carbon-dioxide emissions emitted by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry dropped by more than 48 million metric tons from 2007 to 2008 thanks in part to investments in low-carbon technologies, according to a study sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, reports The News Market.
The study, “Emission Reductions Associated with U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Investments in Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Technologies,” indicates that the U.S. oil and natural gas industry invested more than $58 billion in low-carbon technologies from 2000 to 2008, targeted at fuel substitution, non-hydrocarbon fuels and end-use efficiency improvements.
Fuel substitution accounted for 46 percent of the total reduction, and reflects methane emissions reductions in the natural gas supply and distribution network. Non-hydrocarbon fuels, which accounted for 19 percent of the total reduction, include investments in wind and solar energy. End-use efficiency improvements, accounting for 35 percent of the total reduction, focus on investments in combined heat and power.
The oil and gas industry installed more than 250 megawatts (MW) of wind generation and 4,670 MW of combined heat and power projects from 2000 to 2008, according to the study.
In addition to low-carbon technology investments, the study finds that other factors contributed to the greenhouse gas emissions decline, including lower demand due to higher prices and a slowing economy.
Despite the oil industry’s findings, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to collect emissions data from the oil and gas sector. The agency says methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems, which is more than 20 times as potent as CO2.