Eesti Energia Assisting in Utah Air Quality Study

Elevated ozone levels in the Uintah Basin are among the environmental concerns related to shale oil production plans. Photo: ERR
2/17/2012 9:35 AM
Category: Economy

The US arm of Eesti Energia, Enefit American Oil (EAO), has signed a partnership agreement with a Utah State University research foundation to conduct an air quality study in the state's Uintah Basin, where the company hopes to develop a major oil shale refining operation.

The Utah State University Research Foundation's Energy Dynamics Laboratory (EDL) is carrying out the study this winter, which measures the level of ozone and other pollutants. Data provided by EAO's meteorological and air quality monitoring station will be used in the report, an Eesti Energia press release said.

"The Uintah Basin Winter 2012 Ozone Study is being conducted to better understand the chemistry and other factors involved in ozone formation during the winter months. The final objective of these efforts is to determine mitigation strategies that can be used to reduce ozone levels in the Uintah Basin. The data obtained from this study, including the data being provided by EAO, will be used to help achieve these objectives," said Dr. Scott Hill, Director of EDL's Eastern Utah Operations.

Due to natural factors, and possibly vehicle emissions, ozone levels in the Uintah Basin are already elevated to nearly twice that of government limits, which could mean a loss of federal funding for infrastructure from which EAO might have otherwise benefited. Other environmental concerns, such as water use and pollution, have contributed to local skepticism over the Enefit project.

EAO plans to develop shale oil production facilities with a capacity of 50,000 barrels of shale oil per day at the site, which has an estimated potential of 2.6 billion barrels. It hopes to begin output in 2020.


Steve Roman

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