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Source signature of volatile organic compounds from oil and natural gas operations in northeastern colorado.

Summary of "Source signature of volatile organic compounds from oil and natural gas operations in northeastern colorado."

An extensive set of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was measured at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) in winter 2011 in order to investigate the composition and influence of VOC emissions from oil and natural gas (O&NG) operations in northeastern Colorado. BAO is 30 km north of Denver and is in the southwestern section of Wattenberg Field, one of Colorado's most productive O&NG fields. We compare VOC concentrations at BAO to those of other U.S. cities and summertime measurements at two additional sites in northeastern Colorado, as well as the composition of raw natural gas from Wattenberg Field. These comparisons show that (i) the VOC source signature associated with O&NG operations can be clearly differentiated from urban sources dominated by vehicular exhaust, and (ii) VOCs emitted from O&NG operations are evident at all three measurement sites in northeastern Colorado. At BAO, the reactivity of VOCs with the hydroxyl radical (OH) was dominated by C(2)-C(6) alkanes due to their remarkably large abundances (e.g., mean propane = 27.2 ppbv). Through statistical regression analysis, we estimate that on average 55 ± 18% of the VOC-OH reactivity was attributable to emissions from O&NG operations indicating that these emissions are a significant source of ozone precursors.

Affiliation

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado , Boulder, Colorado, United States.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Environmental science & technology
ISSN: 1520-5851
Pages: 1297-305

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Organic compounds that have a relatively high VAPOR PRESSURE at room temperature.

Oils which evaporate readily. The volatile oils occur in aromatic plants, to which they give odor and other characteristics. Most volatile oils consist of a mixture of two or more TERPENES or of a mixture of an eleoptene (the more volatile constituent of a volatile oil) with a stearopten (the more solid constituent). The synonym essential oils refers to the essence of a plant, as its perfume or scent, and not to its indispensability.

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Any substance in the air which could, if present in high enough concentration, harm humans, animals, vegetation or material. Substances include GASES; PARTICULATE MATTER; and volatile ORGANIC CHEMICALS.

The presence of contaminants or pollutant substances in the air (AIR POLLUTANTS) that interfere with human health or welfare, or produce other harmful environmental effects. The substances may include GASES; PARTICULATE MATTER; or volatile ORGANIC CHEMICALS.

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