On August 18, 2015, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a series of proposed regulatory actions to reduce methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. They are part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan as a step toward curbing climate change and its impacts.
The proposed actions address amendments to the 2012 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry as well as draft control technique guidelines for states to ensure best practices in reducing emissions. The new actions would apply only to new and modified gas wells. EPA would set new performance standards for methane and VOC emissions from new and modified sources not covered in the 2012 NSPS rules such as hydraulically fractured oil well completions, fugitive emissions from well sites and compressor stations, and pneumatic pumps. Operators would be required to upgrade their equipment to avoid leaks and emissions. The new standards would be also extended to natural gas production gathering and boosting stations, gas processing plants, and natural gas transmission compressor stations.
Concerning emission sources already covered by the 2012 NSPS rule, operators would not have to perform additional controls. Public comments on the proposed actions will be accepted for 60 days following their publication in the Federal Register.
Further information is available at http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow