Air Quality Modeling from the Offshore Energy Sector in the Gulf of Mexico: An Overview for the Oil and Gas Industry

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 4:15 PM
Room C113 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Jose Hernandez, Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, New Orleans, LA

Handout (863.0 kB)

The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is one of the most important regions for energy resources in the U.S. with a production of 23% of crude oil, 7% of natural gas, and 40% of the U.S. refinery capacity. With this allocation of energy assets, the onshore and offshore pollutant emission from the oil and gas industry is equally important to be analyzed. Highly urbanized coastal areas with petrochemical industry in GOM, such as Houston, and Baton Rouge, have been regarded as regions of concern for air quality. In response to such concerns, national and local agencies organized monitoring campaigns that were focused on air pollution meteorology associated with ozone, precursors (NOx and VOCs) and particulate matter. Local agencies have reported significant improvements on reducing ozone concentrations and controlling emission sources; however this pollutant still presents high recurrent summer episodic concentrations exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Ozone production involves complex photochemical reactions among precursors along with marine boundary layer and coastal processes which play an important role in transporting pollutants. Comprehensive modeling and observational analyzes are needed to improve our understanding of the ozone problematic, evaluate the impact on human health and the environment, and provide practical solutions for multisectoral applications. This presentation offers an overview of onshore and offshore pollutant emission sources from the oil and gas industry in the GOM, what is known based on inventories, and suggests lines of research to address gaps in air quality modeling.