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Project to gauge fracking leaks

BRITISH scientists are spearheading a European project to identify methane emissions that could have implications for fracking.

Experts from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will help develop new techniques for detecting "fugitive" methane released as a by-product by industries.

Hydraulic fracking, the extraction of natural gas from shale rocks, is known to generate methane, but it is not clear how much.

Reported leakage rates have ranged from 1.7% to 7.9% of total gas produced, while most experts agree on a figure based on sparse US data of around 2% to 3%.

The £1 million FuME (Fugitive Methane Emissions) project will find ways to get an accurate picture of fracking methane emissions. Methane has many times more atmospheric warming power than carbon dioxide.

The 2.5 year FuME project will produce guidelines for the industries it covers, which include waste water treatment and national grid power transmission.

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