Abstract

A system to estimate emissions from large numbers of oil and gas producing properties was developed by the BP's Permian Basin environmental group. The system developed by BP estimates air emissions on a quarterly basis for both internal and external reporting requirements. Additional benefits from the system have been the reduction of fuel gas use and other measures to improve operating efficiencies. This paper describes the key components of the air emission data gathering system, the results of the calculations showing the relative emission levels, and the economic benefits by implementing such a system.

The results of the emission reporting system enabled BP to accurately estimate the emissions from each property. Overall emissions for the Permian Basin were quantified. Operations people determined that fuel gas costs could be reduced through the use of lower or no bleed gas operated equipment. The study also helped to prioritize additional engineering work to look at fuel consumption in fired equipment. Internal and external reporting requirements were integrated.

Introduction

Estimating the air emissions from oil and gas producing equipment has been a goal which industry and regulatory agencies have spent a great deal of study and effort to obtain. The EPA's "AP-42"1 emission estimating guidelines is the standard for estimating emissions from most fugitive and combustion sources. Additionally, the EPA's "Gas Star"2 program helped to identify fuel gas emissions sources and rates. In the mid 1990's, the EPA developed guidance documents for estimating emissions from gas plants. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ; a.k.a. TNRCC) developed guidelines and rules for determining emissions from combustion devices. A joint industry and government initiative produced "Gly-Calc"3 to determine emissions from glycol dehydration units. The API recently developed guidelines for the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions4. Development of these calculation routines, advances in database programs, and internet reporting capabilities has enabled BP to estimate emissions from over 280 properties located in the Permian Basin.

BP was the first company to apply techniques jointly developed by government and industry to estimate emissions for a large number of properties. The emission system was developed to meet two goals. The first goal was to gather regulatory required data for reporting emissions to the TCEQ. The second goal of the program was to provide data for an intra-company greenhouse gas reporting and reduction program. Additionally, the program resulted in greater operating efficiencies and a reduction of air emissions.

The challenge to BP was to develop an emission reporting system to gather data from over 280 properties containing thousands of different components. Each lease had to be inventoried for the number of wells, gas-treating units, tanks, fired vessels, gas operated valves and pumps, internal combustion engines, fugitive sources and other sources. Fuel gas rates and electrical use had to be determined. A system had to be developed to gather and record thousands of pieces data, perform necessary calculations and then generate information for reports to be used by both regulatory and company entities.

The results of the emission reporting system enabled BP to accurately estimate the emissions from each property. Overall emissions for the Permian Basin were quantified. Operations people determined that fuel gas costs could be reduced through the use of lower or no bleed gas operated equipment. The study also helped to prioritize additional engineering work to look at fuel consumption in fired equipment. Internal and external reporting requirements were integrated.

BP's Emission Reporting Goals

In 1998, BP set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission (GHG) to a level of 10% less than the 1990 emission. To achieve this goal, BP developed a comprehensive emission reporting requirement that forced each operating unit to determine and report GHG emissions and criteria pollutants. The Permian Business unit went a step further to integrate the BP corporate required emissions reporting requirements with the state agency requirements.

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