Satellite data shows methane leaks in a fossil fuel field in western Turkmenistan have caused more global heating in 2022 than all of the carbon pollution from the United Kingdom. Turkmenistan is one of the largest methane hotspots in the world, according to recent research in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The number of “super emitting” methane sites in the country doubled between 2021 and 2022, with one site spewing methane for almost six weeks. Turkmenistan President Serdar Berdimuhamedov told regulators at the 2021 climate summit that Turkmenistan was paying special attention to the reduction of methane emissions, but has done little to address the leaking wells.
Methane leaks are also ubiquitous among the 14,000 orphaned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new study in Nature Energy. Plugging them could cost up to $30 billion, though 90 percent of the leaky wells are in shallower water and would only cost 25 percent of the $30 billion to plug. (Gulf Coast: ABC News, New Scientist, Gizmodo; Turkmenistan: Guardian)