The objective of this research is on measurement of methane emissions from marginal well sites at various basins across the United States. The goal is to collect and evaluate representative, defensible and repeatable data from marginal well sites and draw quantifiable conclusions on the extent of emissions from marginal wells across oil and gas producing regions of the United States., and to compare these results to published data available on the emissions from non-marginal wells.
GSI Environmental (GSI), Austin, TX 78759
Gas Technology Institute (GTI), Des Plaines, IL 60018
Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, CO 80523
Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), Houston, TX 77098
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule on June 3, 2016, to amend the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS, 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 60, Subpart OOOOa) to reduce methane emissions from new and modified oil and natural gas facilities. These new requirements include oil wells which produce <15 barrels per day or gas wells that produce <90 MCF per day, which were not previously addressed. EPA’s decision to no longer exempt these “marginal” wells from the Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) requirements was developed based on limited data.
EPA’s NSPS via Rule OOOOa assumes that low-producing marginal well facilities have the same type and number of equipment and episodic emissions as higher producing sites and, therefore, contribute similarly to national emissions. The costs of compliance may impact all producers but will, in particular, affect small oil and gas operators of the almost 760,000 marginal wells located throughout the United States, with an associated economic impact. This study will provide a robust, “apples-to-apples” assessment of methane emissions from marginal vs. non-marginal well sites based on the quantity and condition of equipment and components within these populations and related operational information. To accomplish this, detailed operating conditions, such as frequency, equipment type, and component counts will be analyzed in conjunction with oil and gas production data for each site, production region, and as a whole.
Between November 2019 and June 2021, the project completed three field monitoring campaigns. Overall, 589 well sites were visited in coordination with 15 participating host operators, who in addition to direct access to perform emission screening and measurements, provided valuable activity data. Among visited sites, 524 exhibited marginal production at an average rate of 2.5 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day of combined oil and natural gas. Production was non‐marginal at 65 sites (approximately 11% of the total visited), where production ranged from 15 to 2100 BOE per day. The relatively small size, low equipment counts, and ease of accessibility of most emission sources led to complete screening at all visited sites and complete measurements of most observed emissions. Besides emissions screening and measurements, detailed activity data, including major equipment counts and oil and gas production rates, were documented at each visited site.
A draft final report was delivered to NETL on December 6, 2021 and is currently under review by DOE for release to the public.
NETL – Robert Vagnetti (firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-285-1334)
GSI Environmental – Ric Bowers (email@example.com or 512-346-4474)