Beginning Wednesday (Aug. 3) there will be a “HAWK” flying over the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas, collecting infrared images intended to reveal the release of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from natural gas production and other industrial facilities.

The HAWK infrared camera will be aboard a white helicopter with tail number N141LS, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) said. The camera can also image other hydrocarbon air pollution invisible to the eye.

When the camera detects possible hydrocarbon emissions, a technician onboard will note the time and location and other information about the emissions source. The helicopter may hover or circle a particular location for an extended period of time to gather images and data on potential emissions sources, TCEQ said.

The project is a follow-up to similar projects conducted in the Texas Gulf Coast, Dallas-Fort Worth and Tyler-Longview-Marshall areas by TCEQ to identify hydrocarbon sources that may potentially be unreported or underreported. Identifying the emissions will assist the agency in improving the region’s air quality, it said.

Helicopter flights will be conducted over oil and gas production areas in DeWitt, Dimmitt, Webb, Karnes, Live Oak and McMullen counties. The helicopter flights are expected to conclude by Aug. 24.

TCEQ has been actively monitoring air emissions in the state’s Barnett Shale (see Shale Daily, Feb. 16).