Uinta Basin Ozone Study (UBOS)

Quick Facts

  • The chemical drivers of winter ozone in the Uinta Basin differ greatly from summer ozone formation in urban areas.
  • The Uinta Basin did not exceed the ozone standard in 2014 or 2015.
  • Western Energy Alliance is collaborating with state, federal and tribal regulators to measure emissions and improve our understanding of Uinta Basin air quality.

The State of Utah, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Utah State University, and Uintah and Duchesne counties with support from Western Energy Alliance, conducted an air quality study to understand the causes of winter ozone formation in Utah’s Uinta Basin. The three-year study, covering the winters of 2012, 2013 and 2014, provides scientific data about the conditions necessary for winter ozone formation to better inform regulators, public land managers and the greater scientific community. 

High ozone readings were recorded in the Uinta Basin during the winters of 2010, 2011, and 2013, though notably not in 2012. In fact, because the right weather conditions did not exist during the 2012 winter, ozone levels were low even as oil and gas production increased. The 2012 study provided excellent air quality baseline data in the basin, and the 2013 study occurred during several ozone episodes, allowing the science team to directly measure the chemistry and meteorology during episodes. The final 2014 report has now been released.

Western Energy Alliance funded $2.625 million for the study with contributions from Anadarko Petroleum, Berry Petroleum, Bill Barrett Corp., EOG Resources, Gasco Energy, Linn Energy, Newfield Exploration, QEP Resources and XTO Energy. Not only has Western Energy Alliance stepped up to fund the study and provide data, but it has also been working closely with state regulators to control emissions.

The Uinta Basin has not recorded a single exceedance of the ozone standard since December 2013.