Airborne Methane Emission Measurements for Selected Oil and Gas Facilities Across California

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Journal Article

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We report 65 individual measurements of methane emissions from 24 oil & gas facilities across California. Methane emission rates were estimated using in-situ methane and wind velocity measurements from a small aircraft by a novel Gauss' Theorem flux integral approach. The estimates are compared with annual mean emissions reported to the US-EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through their respective greenhouse gas reporting programs. The average emissions from 36 measurements of 10 gas storage facilities were within a factor of 2 of emissions reported to US-EPA or CARB, though large variance was observed and the reporting database did not contain all of the facilities. In contrast, average emissions from 15 measurements of the three refineries were roughly an order of magnitude more than reported to the US-EPA or CARB. The remaining measurements suggest compressor emissions are variable and perhaps slightly larger than reported, and emissions from one oil production facility were roughly concordant with a separate (not GHG reporting) bottom-up estimate from other work. Together, these results provide an initial facility-specific survey of methane emissions from California oil and natural gas infrastructure with observed variability suggesting the need for expanded measurements in the future.


Environmental Science & Technology

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