Lost and Unaccounted Natural Gas: Energy, Economics, and Environment

Methane measurement

Figure: Methane concentration measurements in Boston displayed in Google Earth. Peaks correspond to methane concentrations up to levels five times background levels. These measurements were typical of measurements made throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.

Sept 23, 2011, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
1 Silber Way, 9th Floor, Metcalf Trustees Ballroom. Directions to Ballroom.
No charge and open to the public.

Parking is difficult around the School of Management so please use the Kenmore lot.


Presentations from the Workshop

E. Crosson – BU Workshop

S. Cleveland -BU Workshop Slides

Fracking Article Sept 14, 2011

Host: Nathan Philips, Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, and the Sustainable Neighborhood Lab, Boston University

Audience: Government, citizens, utilities, private sector, BU faculty, students and alumni

University researchers and partners have found hundreds of natural gas leaks in Greater Boston having conducted a mobile greenhouse gas audit earlier this year. At the same time, environmental and economic costs of lost and unaccounted gas from extraction in rural areas are coming under increasing scrutiny. Such gas leaks contribute to greenhouse warming potential; amounts to about $2 billion per year in US lost revenue; and have been implicated in damage and mortality of the urban and suburban forest canopy. Evidence indicates that the situation in Boston is likely similar to cities and towns across the nation.

The purpose of this workshop is to explore and create awareness around “the unknown” – the extent – the cause – the locations – the how – of these methane gas leaks; to explore rural- urban environmental and economic interdependencies surrounding the natural gas resource and industry; and develop a consensus on a research strategy to address these findings. Leaders from government, research, citizens, utilities and private sector will gather to share information and brainstorm next steps.

Participants include:
Robert Ackley, Gas Safety Inc.
Cutler Cleveland, Professor, Department of Geography and Environment, Boston University
Shanna Cleveland, Staff Attorney of the Conservation Law Foundation
Eric Crosson, Chief Technical Officer, Picarro, Inc
Lori Ehrlich, State Representative (D – Marblehead)
Robert Howarth, Cornell University
Rob Jackson, Duke University
Robert Kaufmann, Professor and Chair, Department of Geography and Environment, Boston University
Mark McDonald, President, New England Gas Workers Association
Jan Schlichtmann, Environmental Attorney


Thousands of gas leaks in Boston area
Boston Globe (August 17, 2011)

Extensive Methane Leaks Discovered Under Streets of Boston
ScienceDaily (May 13, 2011)