Using shale gas over coal does not help climate, says big gas investor

Using shale gas over coal does not help climate, says big gas investor by Fiona Harvey, May 29, 2012, The Guardian
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership says fracking companies not bothering to capture ‘fugitive methane’ … The problem is that “fracking” – blasting rocks apart to obtain gas, which is present in tiny pockets contained within certain dense rocks – produces leaks that pour methane into the atmosphere. Methane is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming. Companies could use technology known as “green completion” in order to capture the leaking natural gas, known as fugitive methane. But the vast majority do not, particularly in the US where fracking is most advanced, because it costs money and they face no penalty for the leaks. … Mackenzie said Scottish Widows was embarking on a campaign to persuade all of the gas companies in which it holds shares to start using leak-reduction technology. This does not just apply to shale gas operations – conventional gas drilling also produces leaks, which can be stanched by a variety of technologies, including one known as “plunger lift”. Scottish Widows is one of the biggest institutional shareholders in BP, as well as other major oil and gas companies.

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