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The Northeast Gas Association (NGA) is a regional trade association that focuses on education and training, technology research and development, pipeline safety, energy reliability and affordability, and environmental initiatives in the Northeast U.S.

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U.S. EPA Releases Draft Annual GHG Data; Natural Gas-Related Methane Emissions in U.S. in 2021 were 15.7% Lower than in 1990

March 20, 2023

On February 15, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft inventory of its latest annual data estimates on U.S. anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission trends, from 1990 through 2021. Among the trends noted by EPA were the following:

  • "Natural gas systems were the second largest anthropogenic source category of CH4 emissions in the United States in 2021, accounting for 181.4 MMT CO2 Eq. of CH2 (24.9 percent of total CH4 emissions). Emissions decreased by 33.7 MMT CO2 Eq. (15.7 percent) since 1990 largely due to decreases in emissions from distribution, transmission, and storage..." (page ES-13)
  • "Distribution system emissions, which accounted for 8 percent of CH4 emissions from natural gas systems and less than 1 percent of CO2 emissions, result mainly from leak emissions from pipelines and stations. An increased use of plastic piping, which has lower emissions than other pipe materials, has reduced both CH4 and CO2 emissions from this stage, as have station upgrades at metering and regulating (M&R) stations. Distribution system CH4 emissions in 2020 were 70 percent lower than 1990 levels and 1 percent lower than 2020 emissions. Distribution system CO2 emissions in 2021 were 70 percent lower than 1990 levels and 1 percent lower than 2019 emissions." (page 3-95)
  • In the transmission and storage sector, methane emissions are down 30% in this same time period. The production segment was up 45%.

Look for further details on EPA's web site:
https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/draft-inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks-1990-2021