The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 18, 2015, proposed new regulationsaimed at reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. These proposed regulations are part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, and are intended to complement voluntary efforts like the EPA’s Methane Challenge Program.
The proposed regulations would require that operators:
- capture natural gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured oil wells using “green completions”;
- limit emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps;
- limit emissions from several types of equipment used at natural-gas-transmission compressor stations, including compressors and pneumatic controllers; and
- find and repair leaks.
These proposed regulations would apply mostly to new and modified―but not existing―equipment, processes, and activities. And the proposed regulations for oil wells are the same as those issued by the EPA in 2012 for hydraulically fractured natural-gas wells.
The EPA will take comment and hold public hearings on the proposed regulations for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Registry.
Keywords: energy litigation, methane, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, hydraulic fracturing, fracking, oil and gas, Climate Action Plan, Methane Challenge Program
Jack Edwards is with Ajamie LLP in Houston, Texas.