Life cycle Assessments (LCAs) of crude oil derived products such as fuels, petrochemicals and polymers benefit from robust inventories of emissions and consumptions of the specific ways in which the crude oil can be extracted and processed. It is known that there is variation of up to 30% or more in the Greenhouse gas (GHG) ?footprint? of different crude oils depending upon the different crude types, production systems, geographic location etc. It is also known that in a number of comparative LCA analyses between petrochemical products and bio-based alternatives there can be rather small differences (e.g. 10 ? 20%) in the GHG emissions or other environmental impacts. The large potential range in emissions profile per unit of crude oil and the sometimes-small margin of difference between crude-oil based products and alternatives suggests that the specific route of crude production (and processing) will be an important factor in decision-making and policy centred on environmental criteria. The research in this thesis was conducted to examine the site-specific air emission data, with emphasis on VOCs, for crude oil production and how this could affect the results of LCAs of petrochemical products in comparison with the use of generic LCA database data to characterize the environmental profiles of such products.
Company specific air emission data was collected from an upstream crude oil & gas company in Kuwait. The data collected was company available modelled data and new field measurements collected via the use of a mobile laboratory. This emission data was converted to specific substance emission values via Gaussian plume modelling and relating it to crude oil flows in the upstream facilities. Thereby new, specific LCI datasets for the air emissions of Kuwaiti crude oil were developed and deployed in LCAs to assess their effects on the environmental profiles of such crude oil and its end products. These LCAs demonstrated considerable heterogeneity in aspects of the environmental profile of the crude oils and example downstream end products driven by the specific LCI datasets for the various production systems examined.