NMED Launches Interactive Online Methane Map

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NMED has launched a new interactive online map focused on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry ... click here. Courtesy/NMED

NMED Launches Interactive Online Methane Map

SANTA FE — On Tuesday, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) launched a new interactive online map focused on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of more than 84 times that of carbon dioxide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. After carbon dioxide, methane is the most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the U.S. from human activities. Nearly one-third of those emissions come from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas.

“NMED is offering this innovative mapping tool for the public and stakeholders to better understand the impacts of oil and natural gas on New Mexico’s air quality,” said Environment Department Secretary James Kenney. “As we add data to the map, it will also become apparent which oil and gas producers are going above and beyond to reduce methane emissions and which are falling behind.”

Represented on the map are the 4,000 oil and gas facilities – including oil and gas wells and tank batteries – regulated by NMED’s Air Quality Bureau. Methane emission estimates were calculated using reported volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates. Other sources, such as pipelines, compressor stations and gas plants will be added to the methane map over time and as data sets become available.  

In addition to emitting methane, oil and natural gas facilities also emit VOCs and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Emissions of VOCs and HAPs are regulated by the state and reductions in these pollutants can also reduce methane emissions. NMED inspection data and concluded enforcement actions will be added to the map over time.  

NMED’s methane map will assist in tracking progress toward meeting the objectives of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order addressing climate change and energy waste prevention. This executive order calls for the development of a statewide, enforceable regulatory framework to ensure methane reductions from the oil and natural gas industry.

The map is accessible through NMED’s homepage and here.