Alana Miller, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering

The goal of this project was to better understand the methane fluxes from abandoned oil and gas wells. Since the orders of magnitude of methane emissions vary so much from well to well, it is important to gain more insight into the dynamics of these emissions to effectively target the high emitting wells for immediate remediation efforts (i.e. proper plugging). Our research involved taking direct measurements of the gas released from various wells in Western Pennsylvania. As a group, we took two trips to locations in Potter, McKean, Lawrence, Venango, and Allegheny counties. To measure the methane flux, we enclosed the wellhead in a static multi-component chamber. After our return to campus, my role in the project was to analyze the gas samples using flame ionization gas chromatography. I will be incorporating this summer’s research into my senior thesis, where I will be focusing on the well samples from Lawrence, Venango, and Allegheny counties.