Importance of Superemitter Natural Gas Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale

Dana R. Caulton, Jessica M. Lu, Haley M. Lane, Bernhard Buchholz, Jeffrey P. Fitts, Levi M. Golston, Xuehui Guo, Qi Li, James McSpiritt, Da Pan, Lars Wendt, Elie R. Bou-Zeid, Mark Andrew Zondlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A large-scale study of methane emissions from well pads was conducted in the Marcellus shale (Pennsylvania), the largest producing natural gas shale play in the United States, to better identify the prevalence and characteristics of superemitters. Roughly 2100 measurements were taken from 673 unique unconventional well pads corresponding to ∼18% of the total population of active sites and ∼32% of the total statewide unconventional natural gas production. A log-normal distribution with a geometric mean of 2.0 kg h-1 and arithmetic mean of 5.5 kg h-1 was observed, which agrees with other independent observations in this region. The geometric standard deviation (4.4 kg h-1) compared well to other studies in the region, but the top 10% of emitters observed in this study contributed 77% of the total emissions, indicating an extremely skewed distribution. The integrated proportional loss of this representative sample was equal to 0.53% with a 95% confidence interval of 0.45-0.64% of the total production of the sites, which is greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inventory estimate (0.29%), but in the lower range of other mobile observations (0.09-3.3%). These results emphasize the need for a sufficiently large sample size when characterizing emissions distributions that contain superemitters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4747-4754
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume53
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 7 2019

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Natural gas wells
gas well
Shale
natural gas
Natural gas
shale
Methane
Environmental Protection Agency
Normal distribution
gas production
confidence interval
methane
distribution

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Caulton, D. R., Lu, J. M., Lane, H. M., Buchholz, B., Fitts, J. P., Golston, L. M., ... Zondlo, M. A. (2019). Importance of Superemitter Natural Gas Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale. Environmental Science and Technology, 53(9), 4747-4754. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06965
Caulton, Dana R. ; Lu, Jessica M. ; Lane, Haley M. ; Buchholz, Bernhard ; Fitts, Jeffrey P. ; Golston, Levi M. ; Guo, Xuehui ; Li, Qi ; McSpiritt, James ; Pan, Da ; Wendt, Lars ; Bou-Zeid, Elie R. ; Zondlo, Mark Andrew. / Importance of Superemitter Natural Gas Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2019 ; Vol. 53, No. 9. pp. 4747-4754.
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abstract = "A large-scale study of methane emissions from well pads was conducted in the Marcellus shale (Pennsylvania), the largest producing natural gas shale play in the United States, to better identify the prevalence and characteristics of superemitters. Roughly 2100 measurements were taken from 673 unique unconventional well pads corresponding to ∼18{\%} of the total population of active sites and ∼32{\%} of the total statewide unconventional natural gas production. A log-normal distribution with a geometric mean of 2.0 kg h-1 and arithmetic mean of 5.5 kg h-1 was observed, which agrees with other independent observations in this region. The geometric standard deviation (4.4 kg h-1) compared well to other studies in the region, but the top 10{\%} of emitters observed in this study contributed 77{\%} of the total emissions, indicating an extremely skewed distribution. The integrated proportional loss of this representative sample was equal to 0.53{\%} with a 95{\%} confidence interval of 0.45-0.64{\%} of the total production of the sites, which is greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inventory estimate (0.29{\%}), but in the lower range of other mobile observations (0.09-3.3{\%}). These results emphasize the need for a sufficiently large sample size when characterizing emissions distributions that contain superemitters.",
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Caulton, DR, Lu, JM, Lane, HM, Buchholz, B, Fitts, JP, Golston, LM, Guo, X, Li, Q, McSpiritt, J, Pan, D, Wendt, L, Bou-Zeid, ER & Zondlo, MA 2019, 'Importance of Superemitter Natural Gas Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 53, no. 9, pp. 4747-4754. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06965

Importance of Superemitter Natural Gas Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale. / Caulton, Dana R.; Lu, Jessica M.; Lane, Haley M.; Buchholz, Bernhard; Fitts, Jeffrey P.; Golston, Levi M.; Guo, Xuehui; Li, Qi; McSpiritt, James; Pan, Da; Wendt, Lars; Bou-Zeid, Elie R.; Zondlo, Mark Andrew.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 53, No. 9, 07.05.2019, p. 4747-4754.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Caulton, Dana R.

AU - Lu, Jessica M.

AU - Lane, Haley M.

AU - Buchholz, Bernhard

AU - Fitts, Jeffrey P.

AU - Golston, Levi M.

AU - Guo, Xuehui

AU - Li, Qi

AU - McSpiritt, James

AU - Pan, Da

AU - Wendt, Lars

AU - Bou-Zeid, Elie R.

AU - Zondlo, Mark Andrew

PY - 2019/5/7

Y1 - 2019/5/7

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Caulton DR, Lu JM, Lane HM, Buchholz B, Fitts JP, Golston LM et al. Importance of Superemitter Natural Gas Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale. Environmental Science and Technology. 2019 May 7;53(9):4747-4754. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06965