Tuesday, August 18, 2015

EPA Proposes Methane Reduction Rules For Natural Gas Wells

Methane Molecule Formula
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from oil and natural-gas drilling, part of a broader Obama administration goal to cut such emissions from the sector by up to 45% over the next decade from 2012 levels.  The rules are aimed in particular at cutting methane emissions from new oil and natural-gas wells, requiring companies to install technology to prevent methane—a potent greenhouse gas—from inadvertently leaking and to monitor their operations for possible leaks.  The agency is expected to complete the rules in 2016, after a public- comment period.
EPA Headquarters
The EPA’s rules are by far the biggest part of an administration-wide goal of cutting U.S. methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% by 2025. Earlier this month, the EPA issued final rules cutting carbon emissions from power plants 32% by 2030 based on emissions levels from 2005.
Methane, which is the primary component of natural gas, has a warming effect on the planet more than 25 times greater than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA. Oil and gas companies sometimes inadvertently emit methane during the production and transmission process. By capturing the methane, companies both cut down on the emissions and are able to capitalize on additional product, since methane is the primary component of natural gas.  (WSJ, 8/18/2015)

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