The planned buildout of gas and petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana will increase overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent by the end of the decade, according to new research. A University of Texas study projects that the new plants, which are part of the boom in gas production, will release emissions equivalent to 131 coal power plants by 2030.
The proposed facilities examined by the study include natural gas plants, liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals, and refineries. In absolute terms, the facilities could emit some 541 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by 2030.
Breaking down the sources of emissions, the researchers suggest that 38 percent of the total will come from petrochemicals plants. LNG export terminals would account for 19 percent, underscoring that downstream and midstream facilities could play a larger role in emissions than previously thought.
Upstream emissions, driven primarily by the release of methane during the process of extracting natural gas, will also contribute a substantial portion of overall emissions.