Controlling Air Emissions

California has the most stringent environmental quality laws and regulations governing oil and natural gas production, transportation, and other commercial and industrial development. As a company operating exclusively in California, California Resources Corporation (CRC) has invested significant resources in vapor recovery systems and other emissions control equipment. Smaller companies can be exempt from certain of these laws and regulations. When CRC acquires their properties, the more stringent rules become applicable. The photograph below shows in pink the vapor recovery system that a CRC subsidiary installed, shortly after acquiring the pre-existing oil tank battery from another company, to capture and eliminate sources of air emissions.

Vapor Recovery System

CRC also reduces air emissions through investments in replacing older, less efficient gas processing equipment and compressors, replacing diesel or field gas equipment with electrical equipment supplied by Elk Hills and Long Beach power plants, and generating energy from remote field gas through compressed natural gas systems or microturbines. At CRC’s flagship Elk Hills Field, the wells are nearly 100 percent electrified – one of only a few fields in California boasting such a modernized, fully automated system.

CRC reports emissions or activity levels from our facilities to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and regional air districts. Reports are inventoried and published online by CARB in a database format. The most current database year is 2015. These data are derived using a combination of state-mandated protocols and emission factors, periodic source testing and continuous emissions monitoring equipment for certain facilities.

Ozone Precursor Emissions

Ozone is formed when emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) react in the atmosphere. CARB data reflect that emissions from CRC facilities have been reduced on both an absolute basis and relative to oil and natural gas production (per barrel of oil equivalent) over the 2013-2015 period. For example, total emissions of VOC and NOx decreased by 8.7 and 18.4 percent, respectively. Similarly, ozone precursor emissions on a per-barrel basis decreased by 20.7 percent over the same period.

NOX&VOCEmissions

 

Other Compounds

Federal and state laws and regulations govern other criteria compounds, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides and particulate matter, that are emitted by a wide variety of commercial, agricultural, industrial and government source types and activities. The emissions are either calculated using government-approved emission factors or measured by government-regulated source tests or continuous emissions monitoring systems. They vary from year to year for a given facility depending on activity levels, the amount of raw materials used and the output produced. In total, emissions of these other criteria compounds decreased from 2013 through 2015 at CRC facilities due to reductions in carbon monoxide.

California’s Air Toxics Hot Spots Act and other federal and state laws and regulations require certain manufacturers, refineries, utilities and oil and gas facilities to evaluate emissions of substances defined as toxic or hazardous air pollutants. Emissions of such compounds from CRC’s facilities are lower than applicable thresholds established by California’s regional air districts and CRC’s facilities are not classified as major sources of those compounds.