To achieve a harmonic relationship between oil exploration and production activities and the environment, Petrdleos de Venezuela and its affiliated companies conducted environmental evaluations of the physical and biotic media in the Orinoco Bitumen Belt. This region covers an area of approximately 42000 km2 with estimated bitumen reserves on the order of 3xl012 barrels, one of the largest bitumen reservoirs in the world. This paper presents the results of a study of baseline air quality conditions: an emissions inventory, surface and upper layer meteorological conditions and measurements of air quality parameters of interest (CO, HC, NOx, SO2, H2S and T.S.P.) taken by a network of automated air quality stations using standard international reference techniques. The temporal (hourly and daily basis) and spatial air quality variability and the variables/activities that might determine the observed trends are discussed. NO, NO2, SO2 and H2S concentrations were lower than the detection limits of the analytical methods, while O3 and CO 1-hour average levels ranged from 5-30 ppb and 0.5-1.8 ppm, respectively, and T.S.P. daily means varied from 10-50 ng/m, all of which is close to natural background concentrations. Maximum hourly average reactive hydrocarbon concentrations of 0.37 ppm were found near a producing oil field.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.