Office of Research and Development Publications

Assessment of Uinta Basin Oil and Natural Gas Well Pad Pneumatic Controller Emissions


Thoma, E., P. Deshmukh, R. Logan, M. Stovern, C. Dresser, AND H. Brantley. Assessment of Uinta Basin Oil and Natural Gas Well Pad Pneumatic Controller Emissions. Journal of Environmental Protection. Scientific Research Publishing, Inc., Irvine, CA, 8:394-415, (2017).


This paper reports on an oil and natural gas well pad pneumatic controller emissions study in the Uinta Basin, Utah conducted in 2016 as part of a R8 RARE project. Pneumatic controllers (PCs) are an important source of emissions for the sector. This paper provides the first description of PCs with a definition of malfunctioning systems and a systematic way to determine emissions using on a combination of measurements and engineering estimates. This paper provides information on methods to assess emissions from PCs using augmented QA protocols that improve information compared to previous studies. The draft paper has been reviewed by R8, OAR/OAQPS, OAR/OAP, the cooperating oil companies that provided site access, and the two major PC manufacturers. Note that the Journal of submission may change


In the fall of 2016, a field study was conducted in the Uinta Basin Utah to improve information on oil and natural gas well pad pneumatic controllers (PCs) and emission measurement methods. A total of 80 PC systems at five oil sites (supporting six wells) and three gas sites (supporting 12 wells) were surveyed, and emissions data were produced using a combination of measurements and engineering emission estimates. Ninety-six percent of the PCs surveyed were the low actuation frequency intermittent vent type. The overall whole gas emission rate for the study was estimated at 0.37 scfh with the majority of emissions occurring from three continuous vent PCs (1.0 scfh average) and eleven (14%) malfunctioning intermittent vent PC systems (1.6 scfh average). Oil sites employed, on average 10.3 PC systems per well compared to 1.5 for gas sites. Oil and gas sites had group average PC emission rates of 0.28 scfh and 0.67 scfh, respectively, with this difference due in part to site selection procedures. The PC system types encountered, the engineering emissions estimate approach, and comparisons to measurements are described. Survey methods included identification of malfunctioning PC systems and emission measurements with augmented high volume sampling and installed mass flow meters, each providing a somewhat different picture of emissions that are elucidated through example cases.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 04/19/2017
Record Last Revised: 06/02/2020
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 336337