After testing a sample of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, the researchers found that many of the old wells leaked substantial quantities of methane.
>” […] To conduct the research, the team placed enclosures called flux chambers over the tops of the wells. They also placed flux chambers nearby to measure the background emissions from the terrain and make sure the methane was emitted from the wells and not the surrounding area.
Although all the wells registered some level of methane, about 15 percent emitted the gas at a markedly higher level — thousands of times greater than the lower-level wells. Denise Mauzerall, a Princeton professor and a member of the research team, said a critical task is to discover the characteristics of these super-emitting wells.
Mauzerall said the relatively low number of high-emitting wells could offer a workable solution: while trying to plug every abandoned…
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