Methane emissions from process equipment at natural gas production sites in the United States: Pneumatic controllers

David T. Allen, Adam P. Pacsi, David W. Sullivan, Daniel Zavala-Araiza, Matthew Harrison, Kindal Keen, Matthew Fraser, A. Daniel Hill, Robert F. Sawyer, John H. Seinfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emissions from 377 gas actuated (pneumatic) controllers were measured at natural gas production sites and a small number of oil production sites, throughout the United States. A small subset of the devices (19%), with whole gas emission rates in excess of 6 standard cubic feet per hour (scf/ h), accounted for 95% of emissions. More than half of the controllers recorded emissions of 0.001 scf/h or less during 15 min of measurement. Pneumatic controllers in level control applications on separators and in compressor applications had higher emission rates than controllers in other types of applications. Regional differences in emissions were observed, with the lowest emissions measured in the Rocky Mountains and the highest emissions in the Gulf Coast. Average methane emissions per controller reported in this work are 17% higher than the average emissions per controller in the 2012 EPA greenhouse gas national emission inventory (2012 GHG NEI, released in 2014); the average of 2.7 controllers per well observed in this work is higher than the 1.0 controllers per well reported in the 2012 GHG NEI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-640
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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    Allen, D. T., Pacsi, A. P., Sullivan, D. W., Zavala-Araiza, D., Harrison, M., Keen, K., Fraser, M., Hill, A. D., Sawyer, R. F., & Seinfeld, J. H. (2015). Methane emissions from process equipment at natural gas production sites in the United States: Pneumatic controllers. Environmental Science and Technology, 49(1), 633-640. https://doi.org/10.1021/es5040156