In its second annual update on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday said petroleum and natural gas systems produced about 6.8% of stationary source emissions, far less than the 67% contributed by power plants.

GHG emissions from large petroleum and natural gas facilities amounted to 225 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mmtCO2e) in 2011, the first year of reporting for the industry sector. Emissions from 1,594 large power plants were 2,221 mmtCO2e, roughly two-thirds of total U.S. emissions from stationary sources of 3,300 CO2e.

Refineries were the third-largest emitting stationary source at 182 mmtCO2e, a half a percent up from 2010.

By way of comparison, GHG emissions from the transportation sector — planes, trains and automobiles — totaled 1,838 mmtCO2e.

The 2011 data, collected through the federally mandated Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, included GHG emissions from 41 source categories, which are 12 more source categories than were included in 2010, making comparison efforts difficult. The 2011 GHG emission data contains information from new source categories, such as petroleum and gas systems and coal mines.

For 2011, the EPA said 8,000 facilities in nine different industrial sectors reported 3.3 billion tons of CO2e of direct emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases). For 2010, more than 6,200 facilities across nine industry sectors reported 3.2 billion tons of CO2e of direct emissions.

The EPA said it has two years of GHG data on 29 of the 41 source categories. Overall emissions reported from the 29 sources were 3% lower in 2011 than in 2010.

Emissions from power plants were about 4.6% below 2010 GHG emissions, reflecting an ongoing increase in power generation from natural gas and renewable sources, the EPA said.

The fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act requires the EPA to annually collect GHG emission data.

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