You can read the entire press release here. However, here are some of the major take-a-ways
- U.S. oil production is at the highest level in nearly 30 years, and the U.S. is also now the largest natural gas producer in the world. The reason for all the attention based on methane emissions generated throughout the value chain. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide.
- Methane emissions accounted for nearly 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, of which 30 percent came from the production transmission and distribution of oil and natural gas. Emissions from the oil and gas sector are down 16 percent since 1990, and current data show significant reductions from certain parts of the industry. Nevertheless, emissions from the oil and gas sector are projected to rise more than 25 percent by 2025 without additional steps to lower them.
- In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laid a foundation for further action when it issued standards for volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the oil and natural gas industry. These standards, when fully implemented, are expected to reduce 190,000 to 290,000 tons of VOC and decrease methane emissions in an amount equivalent to 33 million tons of carbon pollution per year.
- Building on five technical white papers issued last spring, EPA will initiate a rulemaking effort to set standards for methane and VOC emissions from new and modified oil and gas production sources, and natural gas processing and transmission sources. You can view these white papers by clicking here:http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/whitepapers.htm
- EPA will issue a proposed rule in the summer of 2015, and a final rule will follow in 2016. EPA will work to consider approaches that can reduce emissions from oil well completions, pneumatic pumps, and leaks from well sites, gathering and boosting and compressor stations. Developing the final standards a focus on in-use technologies, current industry practices, and emerging innovations will be looked at to help in these reduction efforts.
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