Characterizing Fugitive Methane Emissions in the Barnett Shale Area Using a Mobile Laboratory

Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jul 7;49(13):8139-46. doi: 10.1021/es5063055.


Atmospheric methane (CH4) was measured using a mobile laboratory to quantify fugitive CH4 emissions from Oil and Natural Gas (ONG) operations in the Barnett Shale area. During this Barnett Coordinated Campaign we sampled more than 152 facilities, including well pads, compressor stations, gas processing plants, and landfills. Emission rates from several ONG facilities and landfills were estimated using an Inverse Gaussian Dispersion Model and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Model AERMOD. Model results show that well pads emissions rates had a fat-tailed distribution, with the emissions linearly correlated with gas production. Using this correlation, we estimated a total well pad emission rate of 1.5 × 10(5) kg/h in the Barnett Shale area. It was found that CH4 emissions from compressor stations and gas processing plants were substantially higher, with some "super emitters" having emission rates up to 3447 kg/h, more then 36,000-fold higher than reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). Landfills are also a significant source of CH4 in the Barnett Shale area, and they should be accounted for in the regional budget of CH4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Computer Simulation
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Laboratories*
  • Methane / analysis*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Texas
  • Waste Disposal Facilities


  • Air Pollutants
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Methane