Methane study to deploy planes, towers in Texas, New Mexico


FILE – In this April 24, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M. Satellite imagery and supercomputing capabilities will be used to detect and monitor methane pollution from major oil and natural gas installations in New Mexico, under an informal partnership announced Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, between state regulators and private-sector data cruncher Descartes Labs. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new effort is under way to measure emissions of a potent greenhouse gas across an area of surging oil and natural gas production in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

The Environmental Defense Fund announced Wednesday that it will work with university researchers to collect measurements of methane emissions across the Permian Basin.

The effort will collect data from sensors mounted on towers, ground vehicles and airplanes across a booming region for oil production that spans some 85,000 square miles (220,000 square miles).

Defense Fund Regulatory Affairs Director Jon Goldstein says study results including a map of emissions will be made public. He says researchers with Pennsylvania State University will install stationary methane monitors and the University of Wyoming will use vehicles to measure methane concentrations near drilling sites.

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