Pollution Control in Oil, Gas and Chemical Plants

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Treating Wastewater: At hydraulic fracturing sites, the amount of wastewater typically far exceeds the amount of oil produced. The fluid that returns to the surface through the well bore is not only the chemically treated frack water, but water from the rock formation that can contains brines, metals, and radionuclides.

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There have been few treatment options. But Halliburton has developed the CleanWave treatment system, which uses positively charged ions and bubbles to remove particles from the water at the fracking site.

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Last September, GE and its partner Memsys also tested a new on-site treatment system that allows the water to be reused without being diluted with freshwater, by employing a desalination process called membrane distillation. Plugging Methane Leaks: A major fracking concern has been whether companies are allowing a significant amount of natural gas to escape, because methane—the main component of natural gas—is a potent greenhouse gas, 34 times stronger than carbon dioxide CO2. A recent study concluded U.

Environmental Protection Agency regulations that go into effect next year will require that all U. Methane emissions from onshore oil and natural gas production could be reduced by 40 percent by , at a cost that's the equivalent of just one cent per thousand cubic feet of natural gas produced, concludes a just-released study, conducted by Fairfax, Va. EDF's Ratner said that inspectors equipped with infrared cameras can spot leaks at fracking sites, which can then be plugged.

Another improvement that can reduce methane emissions: Replacing conventional pressure-monitoring pneumatic controllers, which are driven by gas pressure and vent gas when they operate.

The Big Drivers for Pollution Legal Liability Coverage in the Oil and Gas Industry

And switching out conventional chemical injection pumps used in the fracking process, which are powered by gas pressure from the wells, and replacing them with solar-powered pumps, operators could eliminate an 5. Some solutions do not require advanced technology. A study released Wednesday by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force suggests that almost all of the methane leaks from the oil and gas infrastructure could be reduced at relatively little expense, often by simply tightening bolts or replacing worn seals.

nundmensvifer.cf A number of greener fracking technologies already are being implemented, according to industry officials. But one obstacle is economic. The newer, more environmentally friendly technologies generally cost more than the legacy equipment they would replace. He said that switching fracking equipment from diesel to natural gas is the innovation that's catching on most rapidly, because it provides a clear economic benefit as well as helping to lower carbon emissions.

With the rising cost of renting fracking rigs, companies are eager to find improvements that will reduce their costs, he said. Green fracking is "the same as with any industry—if you come out with a game-changing technology, you can get in the market first and ride that," Burnett said. Factory Jobs? But Halliburton's Ingram said that innovations such as chemical treatments to make brine usable will drop in price as the technology is perfected.

A more difficult hurdle might be overcoming what Ingram calls "sociopolitical constraints" around the country. One major issue that reduces incentives to invest in green fracking innovations: the generally low price of freshwater. See related, " Water Demand for Energy to Double by This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues.

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This unique book covers the fundamental requirements for air, soil, noise and water pollution control in oil and gas refineries, chemical plants, oil terminals, petrochemical plants, and related facilities. This book covers the fundamental requirements for air, soil and water pollution control in oil and gas refineries, chemical plants, oil terminals, petrochemical.

For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge. Read Caption. Green Fracking? Can hydraulic fracturing go green? By Patrick J. Kiger , for National Geographic. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set national ambient air quality standards for some pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds — also known as VOCs — and particulates.

The EPA is supposed to make sure states, by issuing permits that set limits, track the pollutants companies emit and how much — so that limits can be enforced and reasonable air quality maintained. Pollution from the oil and gas industry also includes cancer-causing benzene and so-called BTEX chemicals toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

Air pollution from oil and gas development often intensifies during the first 90 days when companies drill and stimulate wells through hydraulic fracturing — injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground. But rather than set limits before companies begin projects, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment air pollution control officials routinely let companies pollute without permits for at least three months.

The more fossil fuels a company extracts, the more pollution is emitted into the air. Colorado air pollution regulators serve the industry, alleged former state inspector Jeremy Murtaugh, who was placed on leave in January and now is seeking whistle-blower legal protection.


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Murtaugh described an agency culture in which air inspectors were told it was their job to serve companies. I always chafed at that. I always thought our customers were air-breathers.

Oil and gas: offshore environmental legislation

The WildEarth Guardians environmental advocacy group, which first raised the issue of allowing pollution without permits at the 15 industrial sites near Front Range communities, is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of Colorado residents. In an interview, DeGette said her staffers have discussed with state health officials the legal exemption they cite as the basis for allowing pollution without permits.

They should first process the permit and then allow oil and gas exploration to occur. Officials at oil and gas companies operating in Colorado said they need the ability to produce for 90 days before obtaining permits. Polis was not available to comment directly, officials said, and it was unclear whether he is prepared to eliminate the day exemption that DeGette has targeted.

Creating a Landscape of Risk and Injustice

Foul fumes wafted over a yellow farmhouse where Nilsen, 53, and her partner Janis Butterfield, 67, run their H H Ranch. The fumes smelled most intense during the early stages — pad construction, installation of processing facilities, drilling, well stimulation by hydraulic fracturing — at two facilities run by Extraction Oil and Gas: a multi-well industrial pad installed in about 2, feet south of the ranch, then a second pad built in north of horse pastures about 1, feet from the house.

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A mare, Goldie, miscarried July 23 as crews were working on the north facility, Nilsen said. Another horse died in November after losing more than pounds. The H H Ranch then stopped accepting horses from clients for breeding, Nilsen said. Scientific research has established that oil and gas development involves as many as 61 hazardous air pollutants. Exemptions from the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act let companies withhold information on some of the chemicals they use and emit.

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Nilsen and Butterfield raised concerns with Extraction and then complained to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a state agency charged with fostering oil and gas development while also protecting public health and the environment by balancing interests. The commission sent an inspector who drove by the farm, Nilsen said. Nilsen said she had no idea state officials had allowed Extraction to operate last year without an air pollution permit. She assumed the facilities by now are operating under permits with limits that are enforced.

State health officials, however, said a permit application for that site is still being processed.