Energy Exchange

Not-so-marginal wells and the need for strong EPA regulations

There’s a common misconception that “marginal” or low-producing wells are nothing more than a marginal problem when it comes to the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions.

The reality is that these wells make up about 80% of all active wells in the U.S, over 560,000 in total. These are not the mom-and-pop operations some portray — rather, the vast majority of marginal wells are owned by large, well-capitalized companies with significant resources to curb wasteful emissions.

As the Environmental Protection Agency readies landmark rules to limit methane pollution from the nation’s existing oil and gas wells, ensuring those standards apply to marginal sites is critical for protecting our climate and the local communities breathing harmful pollution from these wells.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane regulatons, New Mexico / Language: / Comments are closed

Overwhelming public support paves way for stronger oil and gas pollution rules in New Mexico

Over the past two weeks the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board heard from a variety of New Mexicans as they considered newly proposed rules to limit oil and gas air pollution in New Mexico. What was striking over the 10 long days of testimony is just how broad and deep the support for a suite of improved rules is across the state.

While the board must still deliberate and finalize the rules (expected to happen early this coming spring) it is evident after the hearing that there is a clear, well-supported path to finalizing rules that protect the air and health of New Mexicans and that meet Gov. Lujan Grisham’s goal of setting nationally leading requirements to reduce harmful pollution from the oil and gas industry.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Language: / Comments are closed

3 things to watch as New Mexico begins hearing on new oil and gas air pollution rules

Under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico has made oil and gas air pollution and methane reductions a focus of regulatory improvements, restoring enforcement teeth to the governor’s Oil Conservation Division and finalizing a strong methane waste rule that bans routine venting and flaring earlier this year.

These critical policy efforts will reach a climax starting Monday, Sept. 20, as the state’s Environmental Improvement Board considers landmark new rules proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department that have the potential to dramatically cut pollution from the oil and gas industry, clean up the air and protect the health of local communities.

Here are three things to watch as the EIB hearings unfold.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane regulatons, New Mexico / Language: / Comments are closed

OGMP reporting framework offers investors a clear and credible standard to understand and track oil and gas methane emissions

By Andrew Baxter

Thanks to a decade of groundbreaking research, methane emissions from oil and gas operations have advanced from a relative afterthought among climate pollutants to an A-list issue in the global climate conversation, as well a widely acknowledged reputational, regulatory and financial liability for the industry.

Major investors are demanding responsible methane action from oil and gas companies. But assessing progress is challenging because of an overall lack of reliable data, and the fact that standards vary widely for the methane accounting that does exist.

Traditional estimates of methane from oil and gas production have been found to underestimate emissions by 60%. In certain oil and gas basins, studies have found emission rates to be more than 10 times higher than industry figures. Despite a growing number of voluntary reduction targets, reporting methods lack standards and transparency, making it virtually impossible to draw meaningful comparisons over time or across companies.

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Posted in Methane / Language: / Comments are closed

As Texas fails to stop flaring, EPA must act

Routine flaring in Texas is, well, too routine. It’s wasteful, harmful for health and the climate, and getting permission to burn gas instead of finding a productive use for it is far too easy in our state. Over 1 trillion cubic feet of Texas gas have been vented or flared by operators in the past decade — as much gas as 14 million Texas households use in an entire year.

Under mounting pressure from investors, communities and oil and gas operators, factions of industry have made recent public commitments to reduce this wasteful practice. For example, the Texas Methane and Flaring Coalition announced a collective goal to end routine flaring in Texas by 2030.

This may sound like progress, but in reality it’s yet another decade of wasteful flaring and a pledge that comes with no commitment to the regulatory changes vital to make it happen statewide. We can’t wait that long.

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Also posted in Colorado, Methane regulatons, New Mexico, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

What to look for as EPA readies landmark methane rules

EPA is preparing to release proposed rules to cut oil and gas methane pollution from both new and existing facilities — one of the most critical and cost-effective actions we can take to immediately slow the rate of global warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Recognizing the importance of this opportunity, yesterday, over 70 community, health, tribal and environmental organizations sent EPA a letter expressing strong support for its efforts to develop methane pollution safeguards and urging the agency to propose protective and comprehensive standards for new and existing sources.

By leveraging advanced technologies and ensuring meaningful coverage, the rules can secure the substantial, science-based pollution reductions needed to help address the climate crisis and to ensure healthy communities.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed