Reconciling Airborne Basin Scale Methane Flux Estimates with Ground Based Quantification of Methane and VOC Emissions from Well Pads.

Monday, 15 December 2014: 8:30 AM
Robert Alexander Field, Jeffrey Soltis, Dustin Snare, Rachel Edie and Shane M Murphy, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States
Data was collected in the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Fields in Wyoming, both of which are among the top ten wet gas fields in the USA in terms of production. We present an estimate of total methane flux from these two gas fields derived from airborne measurements and relate this flux to ground-based measurements of methane leakage from ~50 individual well pads within the fields. The fraction of basin-wide methane flux that can be accounted for by leaks from individual well pads will be discussed as well as the fraction of methane production that is leaked. We outline the difficulties and strengths of the EPA-developed methodology, referred to as Geospatial Measurement of Air Pollution Remote Emission Quantification, that was used to determined individual well-pad leakage rates using detailed wind measurements without tracers. Often the ratio of VOC:methane concentrations is combined with a known methane flux to determine VOC emission rates. In this study, we measured the flux of volatile organic compounds (VOC) independently of methane by using a proton-transfer-reactor time-of-flight mass-spectrometer and rapid 3-D wind measurements. This allows us to distinguish sources that emit primarily VOC, those that emit a mix of VOC and methane, and those that emit primarily methane. The relationship of VOC and methane fluxes from a number of different oil and gas operations will be discussed.