Modelling land cover change resulting from shale gas gathering pipelines using a least cost path approach

Authors: Shanon Donnelly*, University of Akron, Felix Asare-Bediako, University of Akron
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Landscape, Energy
Keywords: shale, land change, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The amount and pattern of land change resulting from the development of shale gas infrastructure is not well understood. Features such as well pads and processing facilities are often more visible in the landscape, but the clearing of pipeline right-of-ways causes far more land change and will potentially persist in the landscape for decades. The right-of-ways for larger transmission pipelines are governed by federal regulations and involve the use of eminent domain. Smaller gathering pipelines, those that connect the gas wells to the processing facilities, are not governed by the same regulations and their route must be negotiated on a parcel-by-parcel basis as landowners have the right to refuse access to their land for gathering pipelines. The combination of landowner preferences, few regulations, and physical cost factors result in gathering pipelines traversing the landscape in complex routes. In Ohio, no public maps are available of the more than 25,000 miles of gathering pipeline. This research uses existing knowledge about the influences on the routing of shale gas gathering pipelines to inform a least cost path approach to modelling the location of these features. The results of the suite of models using these factors are compared to one another and the measured pattern of pipelines in Carroll County, OH based on total length and rugosity.

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