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Yet another study proving there is nothing to worry about in Barnett Shale area


Another study was conducted in the Barnett Shale area this time by TITAN Engineering, Inc.  TITAN is an independent environmental engineering firm that is licensed in Texas and registered with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.  TITAN tested ambient air quality at 2 compressor stations and 8 well sites in Fort Worth, TX and Arlington, TX.  To cover all bases the sites consisted of both gas-condensate and dry gas wells.  TITAN performed methods of analysis used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Samples were collected during normal facility operations.

TITAN analyzed the ambient air at the sites, testing concentrations of 3 different types of emissions: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), reduced sulfur compounds, and formaldehyde (at the compressor sites only).  These 3 types of emissions were compared to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Air Monitoring Comparison Values (AMVCs) in one-hour (short-term) samples for all 3 types and 24-hour (long-term) samples for VOCs.  The 24-hour samples were also compared to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) acute Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) in cases that the sample exceeds the AMVCs.

The results of the VOCs one-hour tests was that no sample exceeded the short-term AMCVs and only 1 24-hour sample slightly exceeded the benzene AMCV of 1.4 part per billion (ppb) with 1.96 ppb but was well below the ATSDR acute MRL for benzene which is 9 ppb (to get real world examples of benzene levels read my Jun 17 blog Bryan Shaw, Chairman of TCEQ, Has Something to Say in Response to the Criticism).  The results of the reduced sulfur compounds evaluation was that concentrations of carbonyl sulfide exceeded AMCV at the 2 sites but was well below the health-based AMCV level.  Hydrogen sulfide at 2 sites also exceeded short-term AMCV but it was determined by TITAN that the hydrogen sulfide originated from an off-site source.  Lastly, the results of the formaldehyde tests were that formaldehyde exceeded short-term AMCV at one compressor site but it was determined that it originated off-site as well.

The conclusion to all of these results, according to TITAN, is that the 10 natural gas sites tested in and around Fort Worth and Arlington are not emitting harmful levels of these compounds, including the dreaded benzene.  This conclusion is a part of an ongoing trend in air quality tests relating to the Barnett Shale in Fort Worth, Arlington, Flower Mound, DISH, etc.  In my opinion the TCEQ is constantly monitoring the air quality in the Barnett Shale and doing a good job.

To learn more visit the Barnett Shale Regulatory, Environmental Info folder in the Unconventional Updates in DI’s DNA.  To get more info on air quality check out some of my previous blogs: The latest in air quality for the Barnett Shale, Flower Mound Possible Cancer Cluster Report Released, More Test Results for Air Quality in DISH, TX and the aforementioned Bryan Shaw, Chairman of TCEQ, Has Something to Say in Response to the Criticism.

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Anne Leonard

In January 2015, Anne Leonard headed the team that launched the latest addition to DrillingInfo’s international publications, International Scout Frontier North America which covers the US Gulf of Mexico as well as Maritime and Arctic Canada. She has been reporting on exploration and production for more than 30 years. She began her career in Denver covering the Rocky Mountain Region, and has spent the last 10 years covering the international arena, with a particular focus on Latin America, Africa, Western Europe and the Far East. Anne received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nebraska.