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Design Considerations for Successful Low Environmental Impact Natural Gas Compression Facilities in Sensitive Areas

Phil Dickinson
ForeRunner Corporation, Durango, CO

Minimizing environmental impacts related to natural gas compressor stations enables operators to serve the market while meeting permitting requirements in sensitive areas, as well as improving the image of the industry as a responsible steward of the environment and being a good neighbor to those who live nearby. Developing mitigation strategies during the early stages of project planning can help streamline the permitting process and helps reduce the total costs of mitigation efforts. Mitigation strategies may be developed to address air quality issues, noise, visual impacts, overall footprint, access issues, light pollution, impact on wetlands, watersheds, and wild lands, methane emission reduction, and others.

Examples of specific mitigation strategies utilized in recent projects are presented, including: highly sound-attenuated compressor buildings, low noise gas coolers, creative solutions that have minimized visual impacts, effective planning of small footprint sites, and low impact lighting design. Strategies for reducing methane emissions are also discussed.

Operating with a greater sensitivity to surface owner issues and to the overall stewardship of the environment will continue to be advantageous to the industry, especially in environmentally sensitive areas. Effective planning enables implementation of these mitigation strategies while minimizing costs.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90092©2009 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section, July 9-11, 2008, Denver, Colorado