Energy Exchange

As nations sign on to end routine flaring, Biden admin must act

The last two months have seen encouraging momentum in the effort to tackle emissions of methane — a greenhouse gas that drives over a quarter of current warming — and the practice of flaring, which is a major source of energy waste and methane pollution.

Starting with last month’s Major Economies Forum, one of the last major climate gatherings before COP 27 in Egypt, signatories to the Global Methane Pledge introduced a new goal to end routine flaring as soon as possible, and by 2030 at the latest.

Then, just this week, the U.S. and Mexico announced a commitment to cooperate and help Mexico develop a plan to eliminate routine flaring in alignment with the Global Methane Pledge.

Fast action to end routine flaring is critical for reducing emissions of methane, protecting human health and the climate, and stopping needless waste of energy resources as the world faces an energy crisis spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Now, the U.S. has work to do to ensure domestic policies can live up to our own global commitments. Fortunately, both the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency have the authority and obligation to implement strong rules that end routine flaring.

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Also posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Colorado, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, PermianMAP / Language: / Comments are closed

Lessons from New Mexico and Colorado’s leading methane rules

Methane leaks from oil and gas sites represents a problem on many fronts. They create harmful air pollution, contribute to global warming and can even cause explosions. They also result in a lot of wasted gas.

Colorado and New Mexico — two of the nation’s leading energy producers — recently ramped up their methane pollution standards for the oil and gas industry.

Ensure standards apply to smaller, low-producing wells

The vast majority of the nation’s wells produce less than 15 barrels of oil a day and there are often calls for these sites to be exempted from environmental standards. This is a major problem because their footprint is huge and their climate impact adds up.

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Also posted in BLM Methane, Colorado, Methane / Language: / Comments are closed

New Rystad cost analysis makes case for EPA to end routine flaring in final methane rule

By Jon Goldstein and Grace Weatherall

Reducing the amount of methane emitted from oil and gas infrastructure is among the cheapest and simplest solutions we have to reduce global warming quickly while protecting public health. The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of developing rules to curb these emissions from oil and gas producers across the country.

A new analysis commissioned by EDF and conducted by Rystad Energy makes it clear that eliminating routine flaring — a major source of rogue emissions — should be part of EPA’s methane rulemaking.

Though there are valid safety reasons for some minimal flaring, most of it occurs via routine flaring — when oil producers simply don’t have a place to put the natural gas that emerges from the ground during oil production and simply burn it off. More than $1 billion of natural gas is wasted at flares every year, driving unnecessary and harmful climate and local air pollution — including methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas — when natural gas is not fully burned.

Rystad’s report includes two key findings that should inform EPA’s rulemaking.

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

To tackle natural gas waste on federal and tribal lands, the Biden administration must end routine venting and flaring

By Jon Goldstein and Ben Tettlebaum

With responsibility over one-eighth of the nation’s landmass, the Bureau of Land Management has a lot of important jobs. Chief among them is ensuring federal and tribal lands — and the minerals beneath them — are wisely and responsibly managed on behalf of the public, including U.S. taxpayers and tribal citizens.

But avoidable venting and flaring of natural gas from these lands emit harmful pollutants that have significant public health impacts, especially on communities living near oil and gas fields. What’s more, this damaging practice severely exacerbates the climate crisis and, estimates show, wastes $400 million worth of gas every year.

That’s why a broad coalition of 65 environmental, conservation, tribal, business, faith and agricultural groups called on BLM in a letter late last month to follow the lead of states like Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico and ban routine venting and flaring of natural gas.

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Also posted in BLM Methane, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, Wyoming / Language: / Comments are closed

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, Methane regulatons / 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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