Wednesday, 13 January 2016
The natural gas industry in Colorado has experienced significant growth in the last decade due to the widespread use of unconventional natural gas extraction technologies. Limited data are available on the impacts of oil and natural gas extraction on local and regional air quality. Field measurements were conducted in Garfield County, CO between 2013-2015 to quantify and characterize various hazardous air pollutants and ozone precursors released from natural gas extraction operations. Wells in this region penetrate the William's Fork formation, which is made of tight sand known to be rich in natural gas. The experiments focused on three main stages of well development including drilling, hydraulic fracturing and flowback. During each field experiment, a tracer gas was released on-site and measured downwind to ensure samples were collected from emission of the operations investigated. Real-time measurements of methane were made in the field, while canister samplers were collected and later analyzed in the laboratory to quantify a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The relationship between VOCs and methane emitted from different operations under various circumstances will be presents, as well as VOC correlations and probability function distributions for VOC to methane ratios.
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