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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 6 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 3527-3542, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-3527-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 31 Mar 2015

Research article | 31 Mar 2015

Influence of oil and gas field operations on spatial and temporal distributions of atmospheric non-methane hydrocarbons and their effect on ozone formation in winter

R. A. Field1, J. Soltis1, M. C. McCarthy2, S. Murphy1, and D. C. Montague1 R. A. Field et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, USA
  • 2Sonoma Technology Inc., Petaluma, CA, USA

Abstract. Emissions from oil and natural gas development during winter in the Upper Green River basin of Wyoming are known to drive episodic ozone (O3) production. Contrasting O3 distributions were observed in the winters of 2011 and 2012, with numerous episodes (hourly O3 ≥ 85 ppbv) in 2011 compared to none in 2012. The lack of O3 episodes in 2012 coincided with a reduction in measured ambient levels of total non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). Measurements of speciated NMHC, and other air quality parameters, were performed to better understand emission sources and to determine which compounds are most active in promoting O3 formation. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) analyses of the data were carried out to help achieve these goals. PMF analyses revealed three contributing factors that were identified with different emission source types: factor 1, combustion/traffic; factor 2, fugitive natural gas; and factor 3, fugitive condensate. Compositional signatures of the three contributing factors were identified through comparison with independently derived emission source profiles. Fugitive emissions of natural gas and of condensate were the two principal emission source types for NMHC. A water treatment and recycling facility was found to be a significant source of NMHC that are abundant in condensate, in particular toluene and m+p-xylene. Emissions from water treatment have an influence upon peak O3 mixing ratios at downwind measurement sites.

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Emissions from oil and natural gas development in the Upper Green River basin of Wyoming are known to drive wintertime ozone production. Fugitive emissions of natural gas and condensate provide sufficient non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) to promote episodic ozone formation. A water treatment and recycling facility was identified as a significant source of NMHC, including toluene and m+p-xylene. Emissions from this facility have a strong influence upon peak ozone measured at downwind sites.
Emissions from oil and natural gas development in the Upper Green River basin of Wyoming are...
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