(198c) Air Quality Impacts of Natural Gas Production and Use

Authors: 
Allen, D., The University of Texas at Austin



Natural gas production is increasing dramatically, enabled by technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale formations.  The implications of this transformation in the production of natural gas and associated hydrocarbon liquids will clearly be profound in the energy sector.  Much less appreciated, however, is the way in which the widespread availability of natural gas and natural gas liquids will likely transform electricity generation, chemical manufacturing, and agriculture.   These changes will have complex environmental footprints.  As a case study of these footprints, this presentation will examine air quality impacts associated with natural gas production and use.  Data and modeling on emissions and impacts of photochemically active air pollutants, toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions will be described.  In addition to addressing the direct atmospheric impacts of expanded natural gas production, indirect effects will also be described, using a case study of coupled natural gas production and electricity generation.  Widespread availability of shale gas, and limited capacities for transporting shale gas to global markets, can drive down natural gas prices, which in turn, can impact the use of natural gas in electricity generation.   Natural gas production in Texas and the Texas grid will be used to examine these indirect consequences of expanded natural gas availability.

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