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Light Hydrocarbons and Permanent Gases

enery stackRegulators around the world are formulating guidelines for water and air quality measurements to test for groundwater contamination as a result of coal seam gas extraction. Light hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, propane, butane, pentane and hexane) are especially targeted, particularly methane.

In 2010 approx 50% of global anthropogenic methane emissions came from sources such as agriculture, coal mines, landfill, oil and natural gas systems and waste water. Methane is a hydrocarbon, the primary component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. It can be transported by groundwater in dissolved and pure gaseous state and at a concentration of 10 to 28 mg/L is a possible indicator of methane accumulation to dangerous levels (Technical Measures for the Investigation and Mitigation of Fugitive Methane Hazards in Areas of Coal Mining).

NMI’s Capabilities

Using an automated system NMI is able to analyse:

  • water samples for light hydrocarbons
  • gas samples for light hydrocarbons
  • gas samples for permanent gases

The limits of reporting are shown below.

Water sampling involves taking duplicate volatile vials followed by storage at 4 °C whilst gas sampling can be performed directly from canisters, gas sampling bags, sealed tubes and packaging.

NMI’s laboratories have NATA and TGA accreditation for a range of testing services including environmental analyses applicable to coal seam gas exploration and extraction. NATA accreditation for testing light hydrocarbons and permanent gases is in progress.

For further information please contact customerservice@measurement.gov.au, 1300 722 845 or use our on-line form.

 
Analyte
Limits of reporting for water samples (ppb)
Limits of reporting for gas samples (ppmv)
Light hydrocarbons
methane
1
10
ethane
10
10
propane
10
10
butane
10
10
pentane
10
10
hexane
10
10
Permanent gases
carbon monoxide
500
carbon dioxide
500
nitrogen
2 000
hydrogen
500
oxygen
1 000