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Air Pollution Damages from Offshore Energy Production

This analysis uses an integrated assessment model to link emissions from offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to impacts in the continental U.S. The analysis employs emission and production data for rigs located in the Gulf of Mexico to estimate the air pollution damages for the years 2000, 2005, and 2008. For platforms in the western Gulf of Mexico, extraction yields damage due to air pollution that average between $0.31 and $0.75 per unit of oil extracted. For platforms in the central Gulf of Mexico, damage due to air pollution averages between $0.26 and $0.57 per unit of oil extracted. The distribution of marginal social costs is right-skewed; the paper finds that in 2008 115 platforms produce damages in excess of $12.80 per barrel of oil. Optimal management of the air pollution emissions from platforms in the Gulf must recognize this spatial heterogeneity in damages.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Policy and Regulation; Petroleum – Exploration and Production; Energy and the Environment – Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases; Energy and the Environment – Air Emissions (other than greenhouse gases); Natural Gas

JEL Codes:
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
D24 - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
Q54 - Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming
Q52 - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
Q3 -

Keywords: Offshore energy production, Air pollution, Greenhouse gases, Pigouvian tax

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.35.4.2

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Published in Volume 35, Number 4 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.