November 24, 2013
Colorado State University (CSU) is leading a groundbreaking field study to quantify methane emissions associated with natural gas gathering and processing according to a 15 October 2013 report in the Denver I-Journal.
- CSU Engines and Energy Conservation Lab workers at a gas gathering and processing plant.
This month, a team led by Anthony Marchese, mechanical engineering professor and new director of the CSU Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, will begin collecting data from potential methane sources associated with natural gas midstream facilities, between the wellhead and long-distance transmission pipelines.
This study will concentrate on the second stage in the natural gas supply chain – gathering and processing – where the gas is collected from the well, then compressed and processed to remove water, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and heavier hydrocarbons before entering the transmission system.
“Although some data exist on the larger processing plants, there is very little existing data on the methane emissions from other components of the gathering system,” Marchese said. “Our study will provide additional independent assessment of emissions from the gathering and processing sector of the on-shore natural gas industry, and our measurements will create the baseline for future studies.”
While larger gas processing facilities are required to report methane emissions to the EPA, Marchese said that the methods used in the CSU study are intended to help ensure that other midstream emissions sources are accounted for.
The results of this study will be linked to other studies already underway to allow an accurate, impartial, peer-reviewed and journal-published estimate of methane leakage throughout the entire natural gas supply chain.
What this means to you
Limited data exists on methane emissions in gas compression gathering and processing. The CSU study could show whether stricter methane emission controls are needed in this category.