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Development of a Fuel-Based Oil and Gas Inventory of Nitrogen Oxides Emissions

Abstract

In this study, we develop an alternative Fuel-based Oil and Gas inventory (FOG) of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from oil and gas production using publicly available fuel use records and emission factors reported in the literature. FOG is compared with the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and with new top-down estimates of NOx emissions derived from aircraft and ground-based field measurement campaigns. Compared to our top-down estimates derived in four oil and gas basins (Uinta, UT, Haynesville, TX/LA, Marcellus, PA, and Fayetteville, AR), the NEI overestimates NOx by over a factor of 2 in three out of four basins, while FOG is generally consistent with atmospheric observations. Challenges in estimating oil and gas engine activity, rather than uncertainties in NOx emission factors, may explain gaps between the NEI and top-down emission estimates. Lastly, we find a consistent relationship between reactive odd nitrogen species (NOy) and ambient methane (CH4) across basins with different geological characteristics and in different stages of production. Future work could leverage this relationship as an additional constraint on CH4 emissions from oil and gas basins.

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