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Estimation of Air Emissions During Production Phase from Active Oil and Gas Wells in the Barnett Shale Basin: 2010-2013

Description: The Barnett shale basin, the largest onshore gas field in the state of Texas, mainly produces natural gas. The basin’s oil and gas productions have dramatically increased over the past two decades with the enhancement via shale fracturing (fracking) technology. However, recent studies suggest that air emissions from shale fracking have significantly contributed to the growing air pollution problem in North Texas. In this study, air emissions from the Barnett shale basin during the production phase of the oil and gas activities (once the product is collected from the wells) are quantified. Oil and gas production data were acquired from the Texas Railroad Commission for the baseline years of 2010 through 2013. Methodology from prior studies on shale basins approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was employed in this study and the emission inventories from the production phase sources were quantified. Accordingly, the counties with the most gas operations in the basin, Tarrant, Johnson, Denton and Wise, were found to be the highest emitters of air pollutants. Tarrant County was responsible for the highest emitted NOx (42,566 tons) and CO (17,698 tons) in the basin, while Montague County released the maximum VOC emissions (87,601 tons) during the study period. Amongst the concerned emitted pollutants, VOC was the largest emitted pollutant during the study period (417,804 tons), followed by NOx (126,691 tons) and CO (47,884 tons). Significant Sources of air emissions include: storage tanks, wellhead compressor engines, and pneumatic devices. Storage tanks and pneumatic devices contributed to about 62% and 28% of the total VOC emissions, respectively. Whereas, wellhead compressor engines are primarily responsible for about 97% of the total NOx emissions. Finally, in Tarrant, Wise and Denton counties, the emissions increased during the study period due to increase in the oil and gas production, while Johnson County’s emission ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Dohde, Farhan A.

Evaluation of the Influence of Non-Conventional Sources of Emissions on Ambient Air Pollutant Concentrations in North Texas

Description: Emissions of air pollutants from non-conventional sources have been on the rise in the North Texas area over the past decade. These include primary pollutants such as volatile organic compound (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) which also act as precursors in the formation of ozone. Most of these have been attributed to a significant increase in oil and gas production activities since 2000 within the Barnett Shale region adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex region. In this study, air quality concentrations measured at the Denton Airport and Dallas Hinton monitoring sites operated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) were evaluated. VOC concentration data from canister-based sampling along with continuous measurement of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM2.5), and meteorological conditions at these two sites spanning from 2000 through 2014 were employed in this study. The Dallas site is located within the urban core of one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, while the Denton site is an exurban site with rural characteristics to it. The Denton Airport site was influenced by natural gas pads surrounding it while there are very few natural gas production facilities within close proximity to the Dallas Hinton site. As of 2013, there were 1362 gas pads within a 10 mile radius to the Denton Airport site but there were only 2 within a 10 mile radius to Dallas Hinton site. The Dallas site displayed higher concentrations of NOx and much lower concentrations of VOC than the Denton site. Extremely high levels of VOC measured at the Denton site corresponded with the increase in oil and gas production activities in close proximity to the monitoring site. Ethane and propane are two major contributors to the measured VOC concentration, suggesting the influence of fugitive emissions of natural gas. ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Lim, Guo Quan