Statistical Study of Carbon Intensities in the GOM and PB

13 April 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


In addressing carbon emissions as the primary contributor to climate change, a study was conducted to examine the total carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emitted into the atmosphere from the production of crude oil and gas in the two largest producing regions of the U.S: the Permian Basin (PB) and the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The objective of this report is not to compare the carbon intensities between PB and GOM, but rather to understand the causes of deviations observed between the two Basins, particularly in the years 2016 to 2018. This report details the initiative, including the research of emissions and production data from three federal agencies: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). High-level analysis was conducted on six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, sulfur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons, and hydrofluorocarbons. Some major findings of this study include the establishment of a clear trend in which GHG emission rates increase as production increases. The mean carbon intensity, derived from the log normal distribution, for PB production and GOM production was determined to be 14.83 ± 3.374 kg CO2e/BOE and 7.86 ± 2.32 kg CO2e/BOE, respectively, for the year 2018 with 95% confidence interval. While three years of data is not sufficient to conclude a trend, both GOM and PB experienced lower carbon intensity rates in 2017 compared to 2016 and a higher carbon intensity rate in year 2018 compared to 2017. The primary causes for the PB’s higher carbon intensity are flaring practices, transportation, hydraulic fracturing and weather-related impacts, which will be further discussed in this report.


carbon Emission
carbon emission factor
Greenhouse gases
oil and gas industry
Carbon intensity


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