On December first reuters.com reported about the major methane gas leak at Aliso Canyon that was first detected on Oct. 23rd. The methane gas leak has been compared to the 2010 BP oil spill environmental disaster and accounts for one forth of the state’s entire methane emission.
The head of Southern California Gas Co said it would take at least three more months to plug a massive underground leak of natural gas that has been seeping into the air since mid-October and now accounts for a quarter of the state’s entire methane emissions.
Yesterday motherboard.vice.com reported further on the leak that is releasing 110,000 pounds of methane per hour.
An enormous amount of harmful methane gas is currently erupting from an energy facility in Aliso Canyon, California, at a startling rate of 110,000 pounds per hour. The gas, which carries with it the stench of rotting eggs, has led to the evacuation 1,700 homes so far. Many residents have already filed lawsuits against the company that owns the facility, the Southern California Gas Company. … Part of the problem in stopping the leak lies in the base of the well, which sits 8,000 feet underground. Pumping fluids down into the will, usually the normal recourse, just isn’t working, said [company[sic] spokesperson Anne] Silva. Workers have been “unable to establish a stable enough column of fluid to keep the force of gas coming up from the reservoir.” The company is now constructing a relief well that will connect to the leaking well, and hopefully provide a way to reduce pressure so the leak can be plugged.
The danger of this spill should be apparent to most of the readers of the site. However, here is what the EPA has to say about greenhouse gas. While methane spends less time in the atmosphere than does CO2, it is more effective at trapping heat. Globally, over 60% of total CH4 emissions come from human activities.
Taking the figures quoted in the articles we can get an idea of who much gas has the potential to escape into our environment.
3 months or 90 days x 24 hours = 2160 hours
110,000 pounds per hour x 2160 hours = 237,600,000 pounds or 118,800 tons of methane released into the environment.