The Barrett-Bailey gas compressor station is located south of Silt on Alta Mesa Road, between Divide Creek and Dry Hollow. This station was put into service in July 2008, with two compressors.
According to BBC Communications Manager Jim Felton: ” We have six large compressors in operation driven by natural gas engines at Bailey and one vapor recovery unit (it is a small compressor) driven by electric motor.”
Here is the most recent information:
I emailed Jim Felton on 9/21 and asked if they are flaring at the Bailey Compressor Station. Felton replied: “What we have at Bailey is a combustor — a combustor is not a flare. Combustors are a back up system to a vapor recovery unit that runs 24-7. Both consume any vapors that might be emitted from the tanks or other equipment at the compressor station; both are permanent installations. Because of the very low volumes of such vapors going to the tank battery, it’s highly unlikely that a flame from the combustor is visible from even a few hundred yards for any extended period of time.”
In the photo below notice the flare stack. There are two of these on-site. Notice the black residue around the top of the stack, evidence of flaring.
I wasn’t able to find a physical address for the Bell-Melton air quality monitoring station south of Silt. Click here for a map. From the looks of this map, the Bell-Melton station is southwest of the Bailey compressor station, in other words upwind and at higher elevation.
A recent study showed the potential for high levels of ozone and formaldehyde emissions from gas compressor stations.
AIR POLLUTION: Study sees big potential problems from gas processing facilities (Thursday, September 6, 2012)
By Gayathri Vaidyanathan, E&E reporter
Emissions from natural gas compressor stations and flares may be contributing significant amounts of ground-level ozone and formaldehyde in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to a new study.
The area, which overlies the gas-rich Barnett Shale, historically has exceeded the federal standard of 75 parts per billion of ozone, or smog, averaged over eight hours. If a city exceeds the standard by as little as 2 ppb, U.S. EPA may increase regulation, costing industry millions of dollars in additional controls. Even then, achieving the ozone standard could be a difficult task, possibly requiring controls on everything from lawn mowers to cement kilns.
Against this scenario, the new study has found that a single natural gas processing facility in the Barnett could add as much as 3 ppb to the hourly average ambient ozone. The emissions would mostly be from compressor engines that pump gas along pipelines. Flaring, a practice in which excess gas is burned off, could add even more ozone, but further downwind from the source. The study was published last month in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.
If a single processing facility could have such a large impact, many such oil and gas facilities together may contribute several parts per billion of ozone, even averaged over eight hours as in the federal standard.
The study also found potential high levels of formaldehyde emitted near compressors and flares. The chemical has short-term health effects including nosebleeds, vomiting and skin irritation and contributes to ozone formation in the long term.
“The study calls attention specifically to large compressor engines and flares as potentially problematic from an ozone and hazardous air pollutant (formaldehyde) standpoint,” wrote Eduardo Olaguer, author of the study and a senior research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), in an email.
The study concludes that there need to be better regulation and recording of emissions from compressors and flares in places with a booming petrochemical industry.
Olaguer recommends that operators take care to reduce emissions during maintenance, startup and shutdown of engines and other equipment.
Measuring and controlling ozone in nonattainment areas such as Dallas can be complicated for regulators, especially in regions with high oil and gas activity. Officials rely on computer models to identify the facilities emitting large amounts of ozone precursors such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds. Those, if controlled, would yield significant ozone reductions.
But the models cannot differentiate between emitters located within 4 kilometers of each other. Regulatory decisions based on these coarse models can have errors, especially in evaluating how efficiently controls are working. And the models are too coarse to study ozone created close to sources such as compressors and flares.
Olaguer’s computer model is more fine-grained, able to measure at 200 meters resolution, enough to say with certainty that flares and compressor engines may be significant contributors to the ozone problem. The model was cross-checked through a real-world test in Houston, which confirmed that the model works accurately.
But since there are no high-resolution data available in the Barnett Shale, as a compromise for the high-resolution, the model can be only hypothetical. The study, therefore, looked at a hypothetical natural gas processing facility located in the Barnett. Olaguer fed in data from earlier studies that had roughly estimated measured concentrations of ozone precursors emitted by the equipment. Using the information, the model estimated the amount of hourly averaged ozone that would be generated within 2 kilometers of the hypothetical facility at 3 ppb.