January 29, 2015
On January 14, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled plans to regulate methane emissions from the nation’s oil and natural-gas industry for the first time, a move aimed at meeting climate-change goals while not hampering the nation’s energy boom according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to propose federal regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% over the next decade from 2012 levels, White House and agency officials said.
The rules, scheduled to be proposed this summer and completed by 2016, would apply only to new or modified sites. For existing oil and gas operations, the EPA is set to rely mostly on voluntary measures to cut methane, a move backed by the industry.
To reduce emissions, companies would have to install technology that prevents methane from being inadvertently leaked and monitor their operations for possible leaks. Many companies are already using this kind of equipment, according to industry executives and the EPA.
The new regulations are designed to help the administration meet a commitment it made in Beijing in November to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as to bring political momentum to a United Nations summit this year where world leaders will decide whether to create a new climate agreement.
Administration officials say the EPA rules wouldn’t hamper the growth of the oil and gas industry, a big economic driver during President Barack Obama’s tenure. That view is shared by at least some energy executives.
In a fact sheet on its program EPA listed the following administrative actions to reduce methane emissions:
- Propose and Set Commonsense Standards for Methane and Ozone-Forming Emissions from New and Modified Sources
- New guidelines to reduce Volatile Organic Compounds
- Consider enhancing leak detection and emissions reporting
- Lead by example on public lands
- Reduce methane emissions while improving pipeline safety
- Drive technology to reduce natural gas losses and improve emissions quantification
- Modernize natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure.
- Issuing energy efficiency standards for natural gas and air compressors
- Advancing research and development to bring down the cost of detecting leaks
- Working with FERC to modernize natural gas infrastructure; and
- Partnering with NARUC and local distribution companies to accelerate pipeline repair and replacement at the local level
What this means to you
EPA is proposing to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and has listed seven broad actions it plans to take in a fact sheet. Actions include “modernizing gas transmission and distribution infrastructure and issuing efficiency standards for natural gas and air compressors.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to discuss emission compliance solutions for gas compression facilities.