A growing body of evidence warns methane pollution from offshore oil and gas operations could be far greater than official statistics suggest, and can even cause helicopters to fall out of the sky, DeSmog reports. Methane traps more than 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 of a 20-year period and dramatically reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations is one of the most cost-effective ways to limit near-term global warming.

A study published last year in Environmental Research Letters by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Carbon Mapper, and multiple universities found pollution from shallow water oil and gas drilling platforms is far greater than from land-based operations, with methane pollution relative to production as much as 30 times higher than Permian Basin operations. Invisible and odorless, even low levels of methane, can cause helicopter engines to fail. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, a division of DOI, efforts to require methane detectors on aircraft over offshore oil and gas operations were shot down by the oil and gas industry in 2017. (DeSmog)