1140 Constructing a Spatially Resolved Methane Emission Inventory of Natural Gas Production and Distribution over the Contiguous United States

Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Xiang Li, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA; and M. Omara, P. J. Adams, and A. Presto

Methane is the second most powerful greenhouse gas after Carbon Dioxide. The natural gas production and distribution accounts for ~23% of the total anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States. The boost of natural gas production in U.S. in recent years poses a potential concern of increased methane emissions from natural gas production and distribution. The Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (Edgar) v4.2 and the EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) are currently the most commonly used methane emission inventories. However, recent studies suggested that both Edgar v4.2 and the EPA GHGI largely underestimated the methane emission from natural gas production and distribution in U.S. constrained by both ground and satellite measurements.

In this work, we built a gridded (0.1° Latitude ×0.1° Longitude) methane emission inventory of natural gas production and distribution over the contiguous U.S. using emission factors measured by our mobile lab in the Marcellus Shale, the Denver-Julesburg Basin, and the Uintah Basin, and emission factors reported from other recent field studies for other natural gas production regions. The activity data (well location and count) are mostly obtained from the Drillinginfo, the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Results show that the methane emission from natural gas production and distribution estimated by our inventory is about 20% higher than the EPA GHGI, and in some major natural gas production regions, methane emissions estimated by the EPA GHGI are significantly lower than our inventory. For example, in the Marcellus Shale, our estimated annual methane emission in 2015 is ~600 Gg higher than the EPA GHGI.

We also ran the GEOS-Chem methane simulation to estimate the methane concentration in the atmosphere with our built inventory, the EPA GHGI and the Edgar v4.2 over the nested North American Domain. These simulation results showed differences in some major gas production regions. The simulated methane concentrations will be compared with the GOSAT satellite data to explore whether our built inventory could potentially improve the prediction of regional methane concentrations in the atmosphere.

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