On 29 August, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), proposed updates to the national standards for the oil and gas industry. The proposal would remove regulatory duplication and save the industry millions of dollars in compliance costs each year, while maintaining health and environmental regulations on oil and gas sources that the agency considers appropriate.
The proposal is the result of EPA’s review of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and gas industry. EPA’s regulatory impact analysis estimates that the proposed amendments would save the oil and natural gas industry $17-$19 million per year, for a total of $97-$123 million from 2019 through 2025.
The agency is co-proposing two actions, both of which would remove unnecessary regulatory duplication in the 2016 rule. In its primary proposal, the agency would remove sources in the transmission and storage segment of the oil and gas industry from regulation. These sources include transmission compressor stations, pneumatic controllers and underground storage vessels.
The proposal would also rescind emissions limits for methane, from the production and processing segments of the industry, but would keep emissions limits for ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These sources include well completions, pneumatic pumps, pneumatic controllers, gathering and boosting compressors, natural gas processing plants and storage tanks. The controls to reduce VOCs emissions also reduce methane at the same time, so separate methane limitations for that segment of the industry are redundant.
In an alternative proposal, EPA would rescind the methane emissions limitations without removing from regulation any sources from the transmission and storage segment of the industry.
EPA is taking comment on the proposal, and will hold a public meeting.
More information about the proposal can be found at EPA’s website.