Methane Leakage from Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

Methane Leakage from
Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells
Alana Miller ‘15, EJ Baik ‘16, Daniel Ma ‘17
October 3rd, 2014
Summer of Learning Symposium
Project Summary
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas
A significant amount of methane is leaking
from abandoned oil and gas wells
Our project is to learn more about the
methane leakage
Two field trips to Pennsylvania over the
Data Analysis Overview
Determining Methane Concentrations/Calibration
Flow Calculations
Statistical Analysis
Determining Concentrations/Calibration
Flame Ionization Gas Chromatography
raw data is the peak area for a specific gas
different gases have specific time signatures
use gas standards to determine the time signature and
calibration ratio
Flow Calculations
dc/dt is slope of concentration vs. time plot
Scaled the control flow based on the well chamber area
Methane Flows (June 2014)
Statistical Analysis
Well Drilling History, Pennsylvania
Estimate for total wells: 300,000 – 920,000
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Resources. (1989). Oil and Gas
Developments in Pennsylvania in 1989 (Report No.
203) (J. A. Harper & C. L. Cozart, Authors). Harrisburg,
Arnold R, Kemnitzer WJ (1931) Petroleum in the
United States and Possessions. Harper and
Brothers, New York and London
Average Well Depths (PA)
Estimate for Total Plugging Cost, PA
•Factors that influence plugging costs include:
–Type (conventional, shale, etc)
–Condition and Accessibility
–Plug length, Age, Complications, Materials used
•Well plugging – high correlated with depth
•Number of wells and average depth by year used
•Estimate: $1.5 billion
•Range: $840 million - $2.4 billion
•Plugging cost of high emitters (16% of wells)- $240 million
Mitchell, A., & Casman, E. (2011). Economic
Incentives and Regulatory Framework for Shale
Gas Well Site Reclamation in Pennsylvania.
Carnegie Mellon University.
Andersen, M., & Coupal, R. (2009). Economic Issues
and Policies Affecting Reclamation in Wyoming’s Oil
and Gas Industry. University of Wyoming.
Natural Gas Prices (US)
Value of Methane from highest-emitting well: $376, $330, and $220
Alternative Energy Credit Prices
Kang, M. (2014). Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard: A Review of In-State Trends, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.
We would like to thank Mary Kang, Cynthia Kanno, Kenny
Campbell, David Pal, Matt Reid, Peter Jaffe, Yuheng Chen,
Joe Vocaturo, Wangyal Tsering, Ryan Edwards, Michael
Celia and Denise Mauzerall for all of their help and
guidance in this work

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