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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-722
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-722
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Volatile organic compounds and ozone air pollution in an oil production region in northern China

Tianshu Chen1,2, Likun Xue1, Penggang Zheng1, Yingnan Zhang1, Yuhong Liu1, Jingjing Sun1, Guangxuan Han3, Hongyong Li1, Xin Zhang1,4, Yunfeng Li1,4, Hong Li4, Can Dong1, Fei Xu1,2, Qingzhu Zhang1, and Wenxing Wang1 Tianshu Chen et al.
  • 1Environment Research Institute, Shandong University, Ji’nan, Shandong, China
  • 2Shenzhen Research Institute of Shandong University, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Process and Ecology Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, Shandong, China
  • 4Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China

Abstract. Oil and natural gas (O&NG) exploration presents a significant source of atmospheric volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are central players of tropospheric chemistry and contribute to formations of ozone (O3) and secondary organic aerosols. The impacts of O&NG extraction on regional air quality have been investigated in recent years in North America, but have long been overlooked in China. To assess the impacts of O&NG exploration on tropospheric O3 and regional air quality in China, intensive field observations were conducted during February–March and June–July 2017 in the Yellow River Delta, an oil extraction region in northern China. Very high concentrations of ambient VOCs were observed at a rural site, with the highest alkane mixing ratios reaching 2498 ppbv. High O3 episodes were not encountered during wintertime but were frequently observed in summer. The emission profiles of VOCs from the oil fields were directly measured for the first time in China. The chemical budgets of ROx radicals and O3 were dissected with a detailed chemical box model constrained by in-situ observations. The highly abundant VOCs facilitated strong atmospheric oxidizing capacity and O3 formation in the region. Oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs) played an essential role in the ROx production, OH loss, and radical recycling. Photolysis of OVOCs, O3 and HONO, as well as ozonolysis reactions of unsaturated VOCs were major primary sources of ROx. NOx was the limiting factor of radical recycling and O3 formation. This study underlines the important impacts of O&NG extraction on atmospheric chemistry and regional air quality in China.

Tianshu Chen et al.
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Short summary
Oil production is a significant source of ambient VOCs, but its impact on air quality has long been overlooked in China. We addressed this gap by conducting field campaigns in an oilfield region followed by chemical modelling analyses. The VOC speciation profiles from the oilfield emissions were directly measured for the first time in China. This study emphasizes the importance of oil extraction to the photochemical pollution and atmospheric chemistry in the oil production regions of China.
Oil production is a significant source of ambient VOCs, but its impact on air quality has long...
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