GPA addresses EPA methane regulations

TULSA, Okla. (Dec. 8, 2015) - The Gas Processors Association (GPA) recently filed four sets of comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to its suite of regulations addressing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.

GPA responded to "Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New and Modified Sources;" "Review of New Sources and Modifications in Indian Country: Federal Implementation Plan for Managing Air Emissions from True Minor Sources Engaged in Oil and Natural Gas Production in Indian Country;" "Source Determination for Certain Emission Units in the Oil and Natural Gas Sector;" and " Control Techniques Guidelines for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry."

“This is a duplicative, unnecessary and overly burdensome set of regulations that will be placed on the midstream industry. We have successfully worked with EPA in the past and have worked to reduce emissions to the fullest extent possible. This whole process feels like EPA has been operating on a politically driven timeline that does not allow for our members to fully understand and conduct a rigorous assessment of these regulations and their impacts. Even with methane emissions already declining, these proposals will create a lot of uncertainty in the midstream industry, and that isn’t good,” said GPA President and CEO Mark Sutton.

Sutton said GPA members have taken significant steps to reduce methane and VOC emissions from their operations, with a number of members voluntarily participating in EPA’s Natural Gas Star Program where they have reduced methane emissions in accordance with EPA’s program requirements.

GPA comments cited EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, which acknowledged this year that methane emissions from natural gas production have fallen 35 percent since 2007, despite a 22 percent increase in gas production over the same period. EPA last year found that methane emissions from hydraulically fractured gas wells had fallen 73 percent from 2011 to 2013. Overall methane emissions are 17 percent lower than in 1990.

“GPA has a long history of working collaboratively with state and federal regulators to identify commonsense solutions on a wide range of regulatory issues, including many environmental issues,” Sutton said. “We hope to continue that collaborative working relationship with EPA through this rulemaking.”