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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2014 Jan;64(1):19-37.

Air pollutant emissions from the development, production, and processing of Marcellus Shale natural gas.


The Marcellus Shale is one of the largest natural gas reserves in the United States; it has recently been the focus of intense drilling and leasing activity. This paper describes an air emissions inventory for the development, production, and processing of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region for 2009 and 2020. It includes estimates of the emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and primary fine particulate matter (< or = 2.5 microm aerodynamic diameter; PM2.5) from major activities such as drilling, hydraulic fracturing, compressor stations, and completion venting. The inventory is constructed using a process-level approach; a Monte Carlo analysis is used to explicitly account for the uncertainty. Emissions were estimated for 2009 and projected to 2020, accounting for the effects of existing and potential additional regulations. In 2020, Marcellus activities are predicted to contribute 6-18% (95% confidence interval) of the NOx emissions in the Marcellus region, with an average contribution of 12% (129 tons/day). In 2020, the predicted contribution of Marcellus activities to the regional anthropogenic VOC emissions ranged between 7% and 28% (95% confidence interval), with an average contribution of 12% (100 tons/day). These estimates account for the implementation of recently promulgated regulations such as the Tier 4 off-road diesel engine regulation and the US. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Oil and Gas Rule. These regulations significantly reduce the Marcellus VOC and NOx emissions, but there are significant opportunities for further reduction in these emissions using existing technologies.


The Marcellus Shale is one of the largest natural gas reserves in United States. The development and production of this gas may emit substantial amounts of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds. These emissions may have special significance because Marcellus development is occurring close to areas that have been designated nonattainment for the ozone standard. Control technologies exist to substantially reduce these impacts. PM2.5 emissions are predicted to be negligible in a regional context, but elemental carbon emissions from diesel powered equipment may be important.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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