USEPA proposed new methane emissions standards on Tuesday for the oil and gas industry.

As part of the proposal, the agency is updating the 2012 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to address methane as well as VOC emissions for sources covered in that rule. EPA’s proposal would also require that industry reduce VOC and methane emissions from hydraulically fractured and refractured oil wells. The proposal is also intended to reduce methane and VOC  emissions downstream from wells and production sites, covering equipment in the natural gas transmission segment of the industry that was not regulated in the agency’s 2012 oil and natural gas rules. Additionally, the agency proposes to clarify and streamline Clean Air Act permitting requirements in states and Indian country.

To cut methane and VOC emissions, the proposal requires:

· Finding and repairing leaks;
· Capturing natural gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured oil wells;
· Limiting emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps; and
· Limiting emissions from several types of equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations, including compressors and pneumatic controllers.

EPA will take comment on the proposals for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold public hearings and will announce details soon.

More information, including technical fact sheets, is available at http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html