EDIT: The old version had used the wrong conversion factors, now corrected
The central number is the exhaust mass of 110,000 pounds per hour. So how much is this really? This is about 50 metric tons of methane per hour. To be able to compare it with other greenhouse emissions we can calculate the CO2 equivalent by multiplying with 0.01133 giving the rate of: 1247 metric tons CO2e per hour.
Using the EPA Online tool we can relate this to the toal emissions in Calfornia or the US. The total emission of methan measured in CO2e for California in 2014 was: 9,546,270 metric tons CO2e. Converted to a rate per hour this gives: 1089 metric tons CO2e per hour.
So while the well is leaking it is releasing 114% of the normal methane emissions of California.
Compared to all greenhouse gas emissions the well is causing an increase of 10% in california and 0.3%at the US national level compared to the emissions from large facilities.
3.6x is how much CO2 is produced by burning methane (i.e. converting CH4 + 2 O2 => CO2 + 2 H2O).
Methane released into the atmosphere is 25x more potent as a greenhouse gas compared to CO2. See Global Warming Potential of methane in your  link.
So 50 metric tons of methane per hour is equivalent to to 1,250 tons of CO2e.
I feel a good solution would be to implement a carbon tax, and an unburnt methane tax at the greenhouse equivalent, and start charging the company the estimated leak. I imagine their engineers would become more motivated.
Over a shorter 20-year timespan, it is 86x worse.
Porter Ranch is an interesting place for this to happen. It is a cluster of gated communities with $1M+ homes. People generally move there to be left alone, and watch their property values increase -- this gas leak is deflating both of those dreams.
That calculator uses a figure of 22.7 for conversion from metric tons CH4 to metric tons CO2e. Many other sources use the number 25.
22.7 is used to convert short tons CH4 to metric tons CO2e. (A "short ton" is what we call a "ton" in the US)
I guess a culture built around nothing going wrong doesn't always respond well when something does.
EDIT - I also had some numbers wrong! I was using the total leakage as the daily leakage.
This leak is 110,000 lbs CH4/hr, 50 metric tons CH4/hour, 1200 metric tons CH4 per day, 30,000 metric tons per day of CO2e.
That's .16% of our nation-wide emissions. Or, about as much as a half-million people.
*(CO2-equivalent, abbreviated CO2e, is used to normalize emissions of different gases. They are weighted based on their Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is a measure of how effective they are as a greenhouse gas. CO2 has a GWP of 1; Methane has a GWP of 25.)
: user@debian:~; units
2529 units, 72 prefixes, 56 nonlinear units
You have: 6673 million tonnes per year
You want: Mg/s
You have: 110000 pounds per hour
You want: kg/s
Well at least chip tech is still measured in nanometers and not beard-seconds.
The leak is emitting 1247 metric tons of CO2e per hour that is 29928 metric tons of CO2e per day. So its 0.17% instead of 9% of nation-wide emissions.
I'm not sure what you're using for US-wide methane and CO2e emissions figures.
Regarding your correction. The percent value is now too low (.002%). I think you used the factor value of ~0.002 as percentage. So you probably meant 0.2% which would be close to my number.
Using your numbers
30000/18200000 = .00164835164835164835 = ~0.16% = ~0.2%
1. How much does So Cal Gas have to pay to the people of nearby Porter Ranch (who've evacuated their community).
2. How much does So Cal Gas raise rates on its millions of customers to pay for this (because their $1 billion insurance policy won't cover the damages and because insurance rates will go up for the next term)
3. Which So Cal Gas executives will be disciplined or fired, if any?
4. Perhaps most intriguingly, will anyone in any government regulatory post be disciplined or fired?
Then, it's just a question of how much. And I suspect that question will be hard to answer.
They'll probably bury the actual number with some accounting slight of hand in customer bills.
That seems willful to me.
--- endquote ---
5. What is the political contribution history of So Cal Gas with respect to the current CA Governor, legislative leaders, CA Senators, and the (U.S.) Administration?
2) From an environmental standpoint, isn't CO2 in the atmosphere better than methane?
Lighting it would be admitting defeat. I suspect pride is a factor here.
Well... careful with estimates on that. From the Door to Hell article:
> It was estimated that the gas would burn out within a few weeks, but it has instead continued to burn for more than four decades.
An obvious solution, that I'm sure there is a reason can't be used, that article didn't even mention despite being titled "why engineers can't stop the leak."
I guess it is not as "sexy" as the BP spill since it is not very visual and you can't transmit "stink".
They are too busy covering whatever nonsense Trump is spewing each week.
It's been literally spewing out of the hillside for weeks.
Even if they didn't manage to harness the energy for anything this would surely be better than letting the methane escape.
There is also a circular argument that compressing and pumping natgas takes a fair amount of energy. Of course you could burn the gas in a turbine. But then its simpler to just install 2 or 3 times the turbine capacity and just sell power to the grid. Also see above about explosions, no one is going to rent you a natgas turbine or rent you the money to buy one if the likely lifetime before the big explosion is only a week or two.
Also hooking piping up to the reservoir is roughly as difficult as digging the kill well they're already working on, so rather than stopping it in Feb they'd merely be partially recycling by next May or something. So what they're already doing to shut it down, will be done much faster.
I was also thinking of just storing as much as possible in a series of large inflatable balloons. You'd have to keep some distance between them in case one decides to explode I guess.
In both cases you're probably going to have to burn about 10% to 20% onsite to generate the power to run the compressors.
This also explains why its financially viable to spend $1M/mile on gas pipelines instead of transporting it in tanks on the back of trucks.
In as few words as possible this is more or less why your house furnace probably runs on natgas, but probably not your car. As an overall system its more efficient to burn the vapor in your furnace connected by pipes and the liquid in your mobile car.
And that circulates back to my suggestion that if you have to install 20% of flow capacity in the form of generators to run liquifiers, from an overall system standpoint it makes more sense to scale up five times, get somewhat higher process efficiency, and just pump KWh of electricity into the grid rather than making a complicated plant.
Also capture is assumed to be simpler than catching butterflies. It won't be, it won't be cheap, and it won't be effective.
WRT economic costs shouldn't matter when talking about the environment, its unavoidable. Spending $100M on building and operating a temporary plant will as a factor of blowing $100M result in environmental damage likely far exceeding just dumping the fuel unburnt. The planet has suffered incredible damage in the past from "we have to do something", and probably always will in the future.
It seems like back east there are lot of fairly small fracking wells setup for spot generation. If that's a shorter design distance from what could be used then even better.
I agree about the environmental costs, but mostly phrased it the way I did because it's a lot easier to convince a company to release the funds if it's going to cost them one way or another... worse, as a side issue if government steps in with emergency funding to help citizens, it's an unfortunate encouragement of corporate strategy of 'privatize the profits and socialize the risks'.
Isn't burning it in-place better environmentally than just venting it to the atmosphere?
All oil refineries and drilling operations have a flare system that burns off such gas - if not beneficial, why do that besides that it looks cool from a distance at night?
Title of the article is: "WHAT WENT WRONG AT PORTER RANCH?"
Smells like clickbait, and the claim doesn't seem to be supported by the source.
The article says "The gas company expects it to continue for up to another three months." Sounds like they can stop the leak by drilling a relief well.
Regardless, this situation is unique because the well is very old... and leaking in several places. I don't know of an existing system that can safely pump an Oxygen/Production gas mix to another location and flare it.
Hopefully the well casing isn't compromised or the whole town could explode (Hutchison, KS a few years back).