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Abstract Title: Unconsidered Sources of Mercury Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry
Presenter Name: Matthew Bower
Company/Institution: Qa3
Session: Energy/ Fossil Fuels
Day and Session: Thursday 28th July - Session Three
Start Time: 12:00 UTC
Co-Authors: Matthew Bower

Abstract Information :

The UNEP Global Mercury Assessment (2013) estimated that in 2010 the total global emissions to the atmosphere resulting from oil and gas refining was in the range 7.3 26.4 tonnes, representing ~1% of the total anthropogenic emissions (1960 tonnes); however, this estimate did not take into consideration mercury emissions associated with flaring, extraction and transport of petroleum products. Thus, the emission of mercury to the environment from the oil and gas industry is being underestimated on a global scale. This presentation, based on real world examples, aims to demonstrate the extent of this underestimation.

Previous studies designed to evaluate mercury emissions from the oil and gas industry have either taken into consideration the mercury in the stabilised oil only or have made the assumption that gas plants equipped with mercury removal units (MRUs) capture all of the mercury present, resulting in no environmental release.

Qa3 studies at oil and gas facilities have shown that mercury may be released to the environment via a number of process outlets that are generally not recognised or considered by the industry as sources of environmental mercury emission.

This presentation describes these outlets for unconsidered emissions and presents data from real world examples. It concludes with a breakdown of the calculations that result in an estimation that ~ 90 tonnes of mercury are released annually to the environment by the oil and gas industry, broken down into global regions. This estimation is considerably higher than previous estimates of total emissions from the industry and the inevitable increased impact on the environment highlights the requirement for a radical rethink across the industry in the approach to identifying and controlling mercury emissions which are currently largely unrecognised.

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