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Source: Ohio State Highway Patrol via FracTrackerVideos/YouTube

Massive methane leak at Exxon fracking well is one of the U.S.'s worst leaks on record

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After analyzing satellite measurements of a February 2018 natural gas well blowout in Ohio, a team of scientists determined that the methane leak was one of the worst the U.S. has ever seen, The New York Times reported. Gas leaks are infamously difficult to measure — and therefore often go unreported — but the recent development of using satellite technology to detect, monitor, and measure gas leaks is a major breakthrough. 

As explained in the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, new satellite measurement techniques allowed a team of scientists to capture footage of the methane leak and measure it. And the measurements were harrowing — there was a methane emission rate of 120 metric tons per hour. Those emissions are similar to a quarter of Ohio’s oil and gas industry's reported annual methane emissions. An even more horrifying way to look at it? This one blowout leaked almost as much methane as the annual human-caused methane emissions of entire European countries, such as France, the Netherlands, and Norway, according to Bloomberg.