How we count emissions

Scientific research paints a comprehensive picture of oil and gas emissions

Until now, we have lacked robust, comprehensive data about the harmful air pollution emitted from Pennsylvania's oil and gas facilities. Comparing estimated data with actual field measurements indicates Pennsylvania’s oil and gas companies have been underreporting methane emissions by at least 500%.

In fact, Pennsylvania oil and gas companies are likely emitting more than 500,000 tons of methane and more than 54,000 tons of VOC pollution every year.

Why is there underreporting?

Companies report pollution but it is often not the whole picture. Reporting requirements can change depending on the size or type of the facility, and some may not have to report emissions at all. For example, the majority of the state’s wells – known as "conventional wells" – do not report pollution to the state.

Additionally, companies report emissions based on estimates rather than real measurements, and each company uses its own method for estimating emissions – making them difficult to compare and assess.

A clearer picture

EDF developed an algorithm based on actual pollution measurements taken at well sites in order to create a more realistic view of Pennsylvania’s total emissions.

The analysis includes data from:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration
  • Peer-reviewed studies of oil and gas methane emissions.
Complete methodology