“The nonmethane hydrocarbon emission rate from the gas seepage is … a large source of air pollution in Santa Barbara County. Our estimate is equal to twice the emission rate from all the on-road vehicle traffic in the county.”
“The decrease in hydrocarbon seepage rate near platform Holly, possibly due to the reduction in subsurface reservoir pressure, suggests that oil production here has resulted in an unexpected benefit to the atmosphere and marine environment. Natural hydrocarbon seepage is frequently found above oil fields throughout the world. If the decrease in natural seepage found near Platform Holly is representative of the effect of oil production on seepage worldwide, then this has the potential to significantly alter global oil and gas seepage in the future. On a local level a reduction in seepage due to oil production can have a profound effect on the air and water quality. For example, if the 50% reduction in natural seepage rate that occurred around Platform Holly also occurred because of future oil production from the oil field beneath the La Goleta seep, this would result in a reduction in nonmethane hydrocarbon emission rates equivalent to removing half of the on-road vehicle traffic from Santa Barbara County. In addition, a 50% reduction in seepage from the La Goleta seep would remove about 25 barrels of oil per day from the sea surface, which in turn would result in a 15% reduction in the amount of tar found on Santa Barbara beaches.”
“The rate of increase in global methane atmospheric concentrations has been decreasing for the past 20 years. A worldwide decrease in natural hydrocarbon seepage related to onshore and offshore oil production may be causing a global reduction in natural methane emission rates.”Drilling for oil is good for the environment! Funny, I don't remember hearing about any of this. Maybe it'll make the news soon. Oh wait, maybe not - this report is nearly ten years old (published in Journal of Geophysical Research, September, 1999).