The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to unveil a rule to target methane emissions from new or modified oil and gas facilities today.
This will be the first regulation to tackle greenhouse gas from the oil & gas sector, according to analysts.
“By tackling methane emissions, we can unlock an amazing opportunity to spur US action to protect our environment”, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said on the agency’s website.
Oil & Gas Emissions Crackdown By EPA
The EPA had first proposed the regulation in August 2015 and finalised the measure after a public comment period.
The proposal is expected to require new and modified oil and gas processing and transmission facilities to find and repair methane leaks, capture natural gas from hydraulically fractured oil wells and limit emissions from pumps and other types of equipment.
Furthermore, the proposal is expected to help cut methane emissions by 40% to 45% below 2012 levels by 2025, the EPA said.
25 Times More Powerful Than CO2
“Methane is upwards of 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet and is a key constituent of natural gas”, McCarthy explained.
The mandates will only apply to new and modified oil and gas industry sources of the greenhouse gas but EPA is also expected to impose similar requirements on nearly 1 million existing wells and other equipment across the US.
Over the past year, the Obama administration has focused increasingly on methane emissions, promising the US go after methane from oil and gas sources during a summit in March. While the proposed rule may not be finished before he leaves office, EPA is set to start soon by formally asking oil and gas companies for detailed information about their methane emissions.Last updated on 11:22AM - 13/05/16