API, NGSA separately caution EPA on possible methane emissions rules

The US Environmental Protection Agency should not move too quickly to impose addition methane emissions regulations on producers, two national oil and gas associations separately said on Dec. 3.

EPA’s proposal to add new rules for pipelines as well as producers are duplicative and costly, an American Petroleum Institute official told reporters during a teleconference. The Natural Gas Supply Association, meanwhile, urged EPA to more carefully consider gas’s important contributions to reducing US greenhouse gas emissions.

Additional regulations potentially could undermine contributions the industry has made toward reducing US GHG emissions, the organizations said.

“America is already leading the world in reducing [GHG] emissions,” said Howard J. Feldman, API senior regulatory and scientific affairs director. “Even as oil and gas production has risen dramatically, methane emissions have fallen, thanks to industry leadership and investment in new technologies.”

Methane is gas’s primary component, and emissions will continue to fall as operators innovate to capture and deliver more fuel to heat homes and generate clean-burning electricity, Feldman said.

Reductions since 2005

Feldman cited EPA’s latest GHG inventory, which showed total methane emissions from US gas systems were 11% lower than in 2005. Emissions from US gas wells that were hydraulic fractured fell 79% during the same period, he said.

“Additional regulations on methane by EPA and other agencies could discourage hydraulic fracturing and the shale energy revolution that has helped America lead the world in reducing GHG emissions,” he warned. “Onerous and unnecessary new regulations could have a chilling effect on the American energy renaissance, our economy, and our incredible GHG emissions reduction progress.”

In comments it filed with EPA, NGSA said US gas producers cut GHG emissions since 2005 while production rose more than 30% through market-driven improvements in equipment, technology, infrastructure and best practices.

“The unique challenges of climate objectives do not justify regulatory action that risks undercutting natural gas, the most cost-effective source of carbon reductions, when voluntary methane emission reduction programs have proven effective,” the association said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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