News & Events

Environmental Engineering seminar: Characterizing air emissions from natural gas drilling, well...

Friday, December 08, 2017, 2:00PM - 3:00PM


Arsineh Hecobian

Dept. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University


SEEC room N124

4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder

Full title

Characterizing air emissions from natural gas drilling, well completions, and production in Colorado


Processes associated with unconventional natural gas extraction activities have been known to emit methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but the data available on the rate and type of VOCs emitted are limited due to the difficulties in accurate estimations of emission rates from concentration measurements. The use of unconventional extraction methods have resulted in an increase in overall number of wells and activities which indicate a future increase in ambient VOC concentrations. VOCs can have a detrimental effect on human health and act as precursors for ozone formation. Accurate measurements of VOC emission rates will play a critical role in estimating the local and regional effects of the increased oil and gas activities and future mitigation measures adopted by companies and regulatory agencies. Data from several studies conducted in western Colorado and the Northern Colorado Front Range are presented on the emission rates of VOCs from drilling, fracking, flowback, and production sites. Emission rates of VOCs were calculated using the Tracer Ratio Method (TRM). The differences in VOC emission rates at different locations and during various operations will be presented. The relationship between VOCs and methane emitted from different operations under various circumstances will be discussed.


Arsineh Hecobian is a research scientist at Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, where she works on measuring, quantifying, and modeling emissions of methane and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from oil and gas extraction activities from different basins in the United States. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her previous research was focused on measurement of aerosol chemical components from wildfires and quantifying the brown carbon fraction of water soluble fraction of PM2.5.


Free and open to the public.