Log in | Subscribe | RSS feed

What’s New

US EPA issues final rule on methane emissions from oil and gas industry

4 December 2023

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to reduce emissions of methane and other air pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry. The rule was announced by EPA Administrator Michael Regan at the UN climate conference in the United Arab Emirates.

The EPA estimates that the rule will avoid 58 million short tons of methane emissions from 2024 to 2038, reducing methane emissions from regulated sources by nearly 80% relative to what they would be without the rule. Methane is a climate “super pollutant” that is responsible for approximately one third of current warming resulting from human activities, the EPA said.

The adopted regulation targets emissions from both existing and new emission sources nationwide, rather than focusing only on new sources, as previous EPA regulations have done. Existing sources are those constructed prior to December 6, 2022. Sources constructed after that date are subject to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) in the rule.

The new rule also regulates smaller well sites that will be required to be checked and to repair methane leaks. Smaller wells currently are subject to an initial inspection but are rarely checked again for methane emissions.

The final rule will require all well sites, centralized production facilities, and compressor stations to be routinely monitored for leaks and provide companies greater flexibility to use a variety of methane detection technologies. Zero-emissions standards will be phased-in for new process controllers and most new pumps outside of Alaska.

An important component of the regulation are new restrictions on gas flaring. The rule provides a two-year phase-in period for eliminating routine flaring of natural gas that is emitted from new oil wells (associated gas).

The regulation also includes a program that will leverage third party expertise to find large methane leaks and releases known as “super emitters.” The EPA will certify these third parties, will receive and evaluate the data the third parties provide, and will send notifications to owners and operators. The rule does not allow the third parties to enter a well site or other facility.

In addition to methane, the rule will reduce VOC emissions, along with toxic air pollutants like benzene and toluene.

Source: US EPA


Natural Gas