Aggregation and Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Oil and Gas Production: Implications for Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Burdens

Qining Chen, Jennifer B. Dunn, David T. Allen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Methods used for emission aggregation and allocation have significant impacts on life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission estimates for oil and gas products; however, because of limited data availability for upstream and mid-stream oil and gas operations, the influence of the allocation technique has not been extensively explored in previous studies. GHG emissions associated with oil and gas production and processing in the Eagle Ford Shale (with 34 gas processing plants and classified into 12 production regions) are estimated, using data from 2013, at three different scales of spatial aggregation (production region, gas plant and basin levels), to characterize the spatial variabilities in GHG emissions within the Eagle Ford Shale. GHG emissions per energy content of oil and gas products vary from 3.4 to 14 g CO2e/MJ among the regions within the Eagle Ford Shale, and from 3.5 to 23 g CO2e/MJ when assigned at the individual gas processing plant level, with a basin average of 6.8 g CO2e/MJ. GHG emissions are also disaggregated at the equipment and operations level and allocated to gas and/or oil products. Using this disaggregated allocation method, a basin-wide average of 9.5 g CO2e/MJ GHG emissions are allocated to gas products and 3.5 g CO2e/MJ are allocated to the oil product. These emission estimates are compared to benchmark emission estimates from other datasets. This study provides insights into how choices of aggregation and allocation level influence GHG emission estimates for oil and gas products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17065-17073
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 21 2019


  • Eagle Ford Shale
  • allocation methods
  • greenhouse gas (GHG)
  • life-cycle assessment (LCA)
  • upstream oil and gas production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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