A quantification of methane emissions from the Bakken shale play region of North Dakota

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jeff Peischl1,2, Thomas B Ryerson3, Anna Karion4, Kenneth Aikin5, Eric A Kort6, Tim Newberger4,5, Mackenzie Lynn Smith7, Colm Sweeney4, Michael Trainer4 and Sonja Wolter8, (1)Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, United States, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)NOAA Chemical Sciences Divisio, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, United States, (5)CIRES, Boulder, CO, United States, (6)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (7)University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (8)University of Colorado at Boulder, CIRES, Boulder, CO, United States
Natural gas extracted from shale formations accounts for 40% of the domestic U.S. natural gas supply. Although natural gas combustion emits less carbon dioxide per energy produced than other fossil fuels, this climate benefit may be offset by the methane emitted to the atmosphere through leaks in the natural gas production and distribution infrastructure. To better understand the climate impacts of the oil and natural gas extracted from the Bakken shale play in North Dakota, we present airborne measurements of methane taken over this region aboard a NOAA Twin Otter aircraft during Spring 2014. Using the mass balance technique, we estimate methane emissions from the region with four flights intended for this purpose in May 2014. We further attribute these methane emissions to the oil and gas industry using measurements of ethane and other hydrocarbons aboard the Twin Otter.