What are the typical air pollutants from oil and gas exploration?

When an oil or gas operator drills and fractures a well, it emits air pollutants, which may include, among other substances, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.   These air pollutants may arise from the following sources:

  • Wellhead (natural gas leaks);
  • Flared gas (gas that escapes from the well during drilling and fracturing and is
  • Equipment used for drilling, fracturing, and dehydrating gas (equipment exhaust);
  • Pipelines (natural gas leaks);
  • Flowback water tanks and pits (evaporating volatile organic compounds); and
  • Compressor stations (“When natural gas leaves a well, it is sent to a gathering station and the gas is then compressed by an internal combustion . . . engine(s) and conveyed to a processing facility via pipeline.”).

You can learn more about the Clean Air Act at the EPA’s website at:  https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-air-act

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