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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jun 4;47(11):5998-6006. doi: 10.1021/es304570m. Epub 2013 May 14.

Open-source LCA tool for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from crude oil production using field characteristics.

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Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, United States.


Existing transportation fuel cycle emissions models are either general and calculate nonspecific values of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from crude oil production, or are not available for public review and auditing. We have developed the Oil Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator (OPGEE) to provide open-source, transparent, rigorous GHG assessments for use in scientific assessment, regulatory processes, and analysis of GHG mitigation options by producers. OPGEE uses petroleum engineering fundamentals to model emissions from oil and gas production operations. We introduce OPGEE and explain the methods and assumptions used in its construction. We run OPGEE on a small set of fictional oil fields and explore model sensitivity to selected input parameters. Results show that upstream emissions from petroleum production operations can vary from 3 gCO2/MJ to over 30 gCO2/MJ using realistic ranges of input parameters. Significant drivers of emissions variation are steam injection rates, water handling requirements, and rates of flaring of associated gas.

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