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Research shows oil field flaring emits nearly five times more methane than expected

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A new report says oil and gas emits five times more methan than expected

Flares, or fires lit at oil and gas wells to burn off excess gas that cannot be transported and sold, are a common sight at oil fields around the world. Some are even visible from space.

But a new study published in the journal Science Thursday found that the process is not eliminating nearly as much methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide, as assumed.

"Our findings indicate that flaring is responsible for five times more methane entering the atmosphere than we previously thought," says Genevieve Plant, lead author and assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan.


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