Measuring Emissions from Oil and Natural Gas Well Pads Using the Mobile Flux Plane Technique
Environmental Science & Technology (2015), vol. 49, p. 4742-4748, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b00099
We present a study of methane emissions from oil and gas producing well pad facilities in the Barnett Shale region of Texas, measured using an innovative ground-based mobile flux plane (MFP) measurement system, as part of the Barnett Coordinated Campaign. Using only public roads, we measured the emissions from nearly 200 well pads over 2 weeks in October 2013. The population of measured well pads is split into well pads with detectable emissions (N = 115) and those with emissions below the detection limit of the MFP instrument (N = 67). For those well pads with nonzero emissions, the distribution was highly skewed, with a geometric mean of 0.63 kg/h, a geometric standard deviation of 4.2, and an arithmetic mean of 1.72 kg/h. Including the population of nonemitting well pads, we find that the arithmetic mean of the well pads sampled in this study is 1.1 kg/h. This distribution implies that 50% of the emissions is due to the 6.6% highest emitting well pads, and 80% of the emissions is from the 22% highest emitting well pads.