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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jan 6;49(1):633-40. doi: 10.1021/es5040156. Epub 2014 Dec 9.

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

Author information

1
Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, University of Texas at Austin , 10100 Burnet Road, Building 133, M.S. R7100, Austin, Texas 78758, United States.

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.

PMID:
25488196
DOI:
10.1021/es5040156
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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