Closing the gap: Explaining persistent underestimation by US oil and natural gas production-segment methane inventories

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 3 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint

Supplementary Files

Jeffrey S Rutherford, Evan David Sherwin , Arvind P Ravikumar , Garvin A Heath , Jacob Englander , Daniel Cooley , David Lyon, Mark Omara , Quinn Langfitt , Adam R Brandt 


Methane (CH4) emissions from oil and natural gas (O&NG) systems are an important contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, recent synthesis studies of field measurements of CH4 emissions at different spatial scales are ~1.5x-2x greater compared to official greenhouse gas inventory (GHGI) estimates, with the production-segment as the dominant contributor to this divergence. Based on an updated synthesis of measurements from component-level field studies, we develop a new inventory-based model for CH4 emissions, for the production-segment only, that agrees within error with recent syntheses of site-level field studies and allows for isolation of equipment-level contributions. We find that unintentional emissions from liquid storage tanks and other equipment leaks are the largest contributors to divergence with the GHGI. If our proposed method were adopted in the United States and other jurisdictions, inventory estimates could better guide CH4 mitigation policy priorities.



Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Oil, Gas, and Energy


Methane emissions


Published: 2020-11-03 00:31

Last Updated: 2021-08-12 01:41

Older Versions

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement: