Methane emissions from oil and gas exploration are under-reported | 3/7/2019 | Staff
JimmyJoeJimmyJoe (Posted by) Level 3
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Wetlands in Canada's boreal forest contain deep deposits of carbon-rich soils, made up of decomposed vegetation (peat) that has accumulated over thousands of years. Globally, peatlands store twice as much carbon as all of the world's forests combined. Protecting this carbon store is critical in the fight against climate change.

But the amazing capacity of boreal peatlands to store carbon is being curbed by oil and gas exploration.

Study - Nature - Communications - Networks - Clearings

Our recent study in the journal Nature Communications shows how vast networks of seismic lines—long clearings constructed for petroleum exploration—increase greenhouse gas emissions from boreal peatlands. In Alberta alone, these undocumented emissions would boost Canada's national reporting of methane in the category of land use, land-use change and forestry by about eight percent.

And, regrettably, that's probably an underestimate.

Alberta - Petroleum - Deposits - Oil - Reserves

Alberta has immense petroleum deposits, including the third-largest proven oil reserves in the world. The bulk of these deposits are found in the northern part of the province: a landscape that also contains an abundance of peatlands.

When most people think of northern Alberta's petroleum industry, they envision the large surface mines located near Fort McMurray. Yet most of the province's oil and gas, including 97 percent of the oil-sands area, is found in reservoirs that are too deep for surface mining.

Alberta - Petroleum - Companies - Wells - Access

Across much of Alberta, petroleum companies use deep wells to access oil and gas. The surface footprint of this "in-situ" extraction is less intensive than mining, but—as we explain below—the operations create a dense network of disturbances that cover a much larger area.

In the hunt for subsurface petroleum deposits, oil and gas companies construct seismic lines. Seismic lines are linear features, two metres to 10 metres wide, cut through the forest using bulldozers or other types of machinery.

Lines - Access - Field - Crews - Geophones

Once cut, seismic lines provide access for field crews to place geophones and other types of survey equipment to search...
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