PA DEP Advisory Committee recommends moving ahead with VOC/Methane emission control regulations from existing oil & gas operations.

May 2, 2019

On April 11, 2019 the Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee voted to recommend DEP move ahead with a proposed regulation to control volatile organic compound emissions, with a “co-benefit” of reducing methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations, according to a PA Environment Digest Blog report.

Generally, the draft regulation outline calls for a 95 percent reduction in VOC emissions, however, some equipment-specific requirements call for less or more. For example, natural gas processing plants are required to have zero VOC emissions.

DEP said the regulation, as drafted, would exempt the “lion’s share” of conventional oil and gas wells (perhaps 80 percent or more) and roughly 6 percent of unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania from the leak detection and repair requirements due to the threshold emission limits.

It was the first time the full text of the proposal was discussed and the recommendation was made in a split vote by the Committee after a lively conversation during which environmental group representatives questioned whether the scope of the regulation was adequate to the task.

There are now about 80,000 conventional oil and gas wells and about 10,651 active unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania.

Andrew Williams from the Environmental Defense Fund issued a statement Thursday saying DEP needed to make changes to the proposed rule.

Williams said, “The rule as currently drafted would capture only 21 percent of methane emissions. A 2018 report by Environmental Defense Fund estimated that emissions of methane, a potent climate forcing agent, from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry are up to five times higher than what is reported to DEP, or potentially 520,000 tons per year.

Click Here for a copy of the regulation. Click Here for a copy of DEP’s presentation.

What this means to you
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee voted to recommend DEP move ahead with a proposed regulation to control volatile organic compound emissions, with a “co-benefit” of reducing methane emissions from existing oil and gas operations.

MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH for stationary engine emission control solutions targeting volatile organic compound emissions in Pennsylvania.