The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued proposed rules to cut down on emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane from well drilling and production sites. The rules were issued pursuant to a settlement of a suit by environmental groups alleging that EPA was not enforcing air emissions laws against the E&P industry.
Among other things, the proposed rules would require installation of vapor recovery units on storage tanks at wellsites and other E&P facilities to prevent emission of VOCs. The EPA has calculated that the rules would cost the industry $754 million, but that the gas and condensate captured by the vapor recovery units would be sold for $783 million. The rules would apply to oil and gas wells, natural gas processing plants, compressor stations and pipelines. Similar emissions control requirements have been recommended by the New York Department of Environmental Protection in its study of the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling in New York.
For more information about the proposal on EPA’s website, go here.