ESM 204 Cost Benefit Analysis of Hydrocarbon Seep Tents Background. The Santa Barbara Channel contains some of the world’s most productive marine hydrocarbon seeps. The seeps emit both oil and natural gas. Both types of emissions cause pollution: oil pollutes the beaches and hydrocarbons are a major precursor to ground-level ozone which causes local health problems. In the early 1980’s, ARCO installed 2 seep “tents” – concrete and metal structures each approximately 10,000ft 2 in size – to capture the hydrocarbons. ARCO received two benefits from this capture. First, they piped the gas on-shore, processed it, and sold it. Second, because the reduction in hydrocarbons escaping to the atmosphere created a health benefit for Santa Barbara county, the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District (APCD) gave ARCO “credits” for this emissions reduction. These credits could be used by ARCO to offset pollution ARCO generated elsewhere.
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2008 for the course ESM 204 taught by Professor Kolstad during the Winter '08 term at UCSB.