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Huge burst of methane from Russian coal mine detected by satellite

Friday, June 17th, 2022

A satellite managed by GHGSat, a commercial emissions-monitoring firm, observed thirteen plumes of methane at the Raspadskya mine, the largest coal mine in Russia, in late January. About 90 tons an hour of the greenhouse gas was being released from the mine. This would be enough to produce natural gas to power 2.4 million homes.

The mine seems to be leaking methane at a lower rate now, about a third of the highest rate recorded in July — but it’s still an important methane contributor. Furthermore, the leak is believed to have been active for at least six months before January’s survey. GHGSat said the leak is about 50% bigger than any other leak seen since it started its global satellite monitoring back in 2016. Russia hasn’t reported the leak on its end.ADVERTISEMENT

In 2015, the biggest methane release in US history happened in an underground natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles. GHGSat estimates up to 58 tons an hour of methane was released. Three years later, GHGSat identified a malfunctioning oil well in Turkmenistan, which released 142,000 tons of methane between 2018 and 2019.

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