METHANE, FLIR, AND THE FACTS

WHAT THE VIDEOS DO - AND DO NOT - SHOW

 

Click Here To Download This Fact Sheet

 

For the past few years, anti-energy groups have attracted media attention with grainy videos of oil and gas operations, which they claim show things like “invisible fracking air pollution.”1 But activists are deliberately misleading us about what these videos show.

 


WHAT IS FLIR?

Forward looking infrared technology, or FLIR, is used by many industries as well as the military. For oil and gas, FLIR cameras are used to see non-visible light – steam, heat, permitted exhaust or other activities. Operators can use FLIR to identify leaks and potential repairs.


 

WHAT CAN'T FLIR TELL US?

Operators use many tools to ensure their facilities are operating safely and environmentally-friendly, because FLIR only provides one part of the whole picture. FLIR technology CANNOT tell us…

RATE OF EMISSIONS

Activists often claim FLIR images show methane, volatile organic compounds (VOC), or other emissions. FLIR can detect emissions of some kind, but the imagery cannot definitively tell us what is being emitted.

“We can’t say which VOCs or how much.”2

-Sharon Wilson, Earthworks

 

 

TYPE OF EMISSIONS

FLIR technology cannot tell us how much gas is being emitted, so it cannot tell us if there are violations or health concerns. That requires air quality analysis – which activists are not doing.

“No air quality tests were conducted in connection with the infrared drone photographs to quantify what amount of methane or other pollutants, if any, were being emitted at the named well sites.”3

-Kingfisher Times & Free Press

 


THE TRUTH ABOUT FLIR


 

!! FLIR FAKE NEWS ALERT !!

Earthworks shot a FLIR video4 of a Karnes County facility the same day an air emissions complaint5 was filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) against the same facility. TCEQ’s investigation concluded there was no violation.6

 

MISLEADING SCARE TACTIC

"The bottom line is that they are misleading, and they are misleading on the scare tactic. Optical gas imaging is nothing more than that, it’s imaging. There’s a lot that can mimic an emissions plume."7

-Trisha Fanning, Environmental Consultant, Eagle Environmental

 

 


Sources

1. One Year in FLIR: Exposing Invisible Fracking Air Pollution, Earthworks, August 2015   https://earthworks.org/one_year_in_flir_exposing_invisible_fracking_air_pollution/

2. Health Effects of Oil and Gas Emissions Investigated in Texas, E&E News, June 2017   https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/health-effects-of-oil-and-gas-emissions-investigated-in-texas/

3. Oil Industry Calls Report Alleging Methane Pollution Misleading Scare Tactics, Kingfisher Times & Free Press, October 2017  http://kingfisherpress.net/oil-industry-calls-report-alleging-methane-pollution-misleading-scare-tacti-p3633-1.htm

4. Encana Patton Trust South, Condado de Karnes, TX, Earthworks, December 2017                   https://youtu.be/FG6Iuq7uH70

5. Complaint Status, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, December 2017  http://www2.tceq.texas.gov/oce/waci/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.complaint&incid=273800

6. Complaint Investigation Details, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, December 2017  http://www2.tceq.texas.gov/oce/waci/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.investigation&invid=842592132018018

7. Anti-Fossil Fuel Groups Admit No Air Testing Conducted In Oklahoma Emissions Report, Western Wire, October 2017 http://westernwire.net/anti-fossil-fuel-groups-admit-no-air-testing-conducted-in-oklahoma-emissions-report/