A Comparison of Air Emission Estimation Methods for Drilling Rig Emissions

  •  Susan Stuver    
  •  Jesse Alonzo    
  •  Richard Haut    
  •  David Burnett    
  •  Forrest Cobb    


Ever since the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality determined that the Eagle Ford and its supporting industry will be included in future air emission inventories, it has become crucial to identify the most accurate and cost effective methods for determining air emissions of drilling operations. Estimation is the preferred method for creating regional emission inventories since direct measurement of diesel engine exhaust is often cost prohibitive. These estimations are commonly calculated using engine load, conservatively estimated at 100%. This introduces considerable error in the emissions inventory since electric rigs are rarely run at full load and drilling engine activity dramatically varies from job to job. Conducting an air emission inventory of drilling rigs requires a novel way to estimate emissions without relying on engine load as a primary variable. With this in mind the research team employed an estimation method based on fuel consumption rather than horsepower. Fuel use data is readily available on drilling sites and so more accurately reflects the engine activity of electric rigs in drilling operations. This study finds that calculated emissions can vary from 9 to 106 pounds per hour of NOx depending on the estimation method used. Given the deviation that can occur in estimation, the fuel consumption method offers an opportunity for more accurate, cost-effective assessment of regional emission inventories.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0488
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0496
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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