Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Barnett Shale Gas Used to Generate Electricity

G. Heath, J. Meldrum, N. Fisher, D. Arent, M. Bazilian

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31 Scopus Citations


This paper presents research findings on life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with natural gas production in the Barnett Shale play in Texas. The data sources and approach used in this study differ significantly from previous efforts. The authors used inventories from the year 2009 tracking emissions of regulated air pollutants by the natural gas industry in the Barnett Shale play. These inventories were collected and screened by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). These data cover the characteristics and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions of more than 16,000 individual sources in shale gas production and processing. Translating estimated emissions of VOCs into estimates of methane and carbon dioxide emissions was accomplished through the novel compilation of spatially heterogeneous gas composition analyses. Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generated from Barnett Shale gas extracted in 2009 were found to be very similar to conventional natural gas and less than half those of coal-fired electricity generation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-58702


  • Energy policy
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Natural gas
  • Power: methane leakage


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