Next Article in Journal
Decentralised Electricity Markets and Proactive Customer Behaviour
Previous Article in Journal
State of Art of Using Biofuels in Spark Ignition Engines
Previous Article in Special Issue
Powering a Sustainable and Circular Economy—An Engineering Approach to Estimating Renewable Energy Potentials within Earth System Boundaries
 
 
Communication

Comparing Permitted Emissions to Atmospheric Observations of Hydrocarbons in the Eagle Ford Shale Suggests Permit Violations

1
College of Geosciences Environmental Programs, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexis Laurent
Energies 2021, 14(3), 780; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14030780
Received: 27 December 2020 / Revised: 26 January 2021 / Accepted: 28 January 2021 / Published: 2 February 2021
The recent decade’s rapid unconventional oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford of south-central Texas has caused increased hydrocarbon emissions, which we have previously analyzed using data from a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality air quality monitoring station located downwind of the shale area. Here, we expand our previous top-down emissions estimate and compare it to an estimated regional emissions maximum based on (i) individual facility permits for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, (ii) reported point source emissions of VOCs, (iii) traffic-related emissions, and (iv) upset emissions. This largely permit-based emissions estimate accounted, on average, for 86% of the median calculated emissions of C3-C6-hydrocarbons at the monitor. Since the measurement-based emissions encompass a smaller section of the shale than the calculated maximum permitted emissions, this strongly suggests that the actual emissions from oil and gas operations in this part of the Eagle Ford exceeded their permitted allowance. Possible explanations for the discrepancy include emissions from abandoned wells and high volumes of venting versus flaring. Using other recent observations, such as large fractions of unlit flares in the Permian shale basin, we suggest that the excessive venting of raw gas is a likely explanation. States such as Texas with significant oil gas production will need to require better accounting of emissions if they are to move towards a more sustainable energy economy. View Full-Text
Keywords: shale oil and gas; emissions permitting; atmospheric measurements; excess VOC emissions shale oil and gas; emissions permitting; atmospheric measurements; excess VOC emissions
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Holliman, J.; Schade, G.W. Comparing Permitted Emissions to Atmospheric Observations of Hydrocarbons in the Eagle Ford Shale Suggests Permit Violations. Energies 2021, 14, 780. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14030780

AMA Style

Holliman J, Schade GW. Comparing Permitted Emissions to Atmospheric Observations of Hydrocarbons in the Eagle Ford Shale Suggests Permit Violations. Energies. 2021; 14(3):780. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14030780

Chicago/Turabian Style

Holliman, Joel, and Gunnar W. Schade. 2021. "Comparing Permitted Emissions to Atmospheric Observations of Hydrocarbons in the Eagle Ford Shale Suggests Permit Violations" Energies 14, no. 3: 780. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14030780

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop