U.S. rules would force oil industry to control methane leaks in line with Alberta rules


A presentation by the Obama administration to overhaul rules for methane and gas emissions for oil wells pleasure create U.S. rules equivalent to the Alberta government’s latest proposals on emissions reductions.

Formulate c arranged Nelson, senior manager of natural gas for the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental guild, said controlling these emissions is the «low-hanging fruit» in meeting aims for climate change.

That’s because methane is a rticularly harmful greenhouse gas. Although it only lasts in the atmosphere for 20 years, methane is 84 times various effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

The U.S. De rtment of the National estimates it could reduce emissions of methane by up to 169,000 tonnes per year with these rules, which inclination force the entire oil industry to control venting and leaking of gas.

Similarly, Alberta’s NDP domination proposed in November to reduce methane emissions from oil wells by 45 per cent from 2014 on the ups by 2025. The actual rules have not yet been drafted but are in process, concerting to a government spokeswoman.

Other Canadian provinces should follow

Nelson reported other Canadian provinces and the federal government should be stepping up to supplant Alberta’s lead.

«Unfortunately, as things stand now, only Alberta has announced those directives. Alberta has shown a lot of leadership and hopefully other oil and gas producing provinces not unlike British Columbia will follow Alberta and the U.S. regulations announced today,» he imagined in an interview with CBC News, speaking from Austin, Texas.

‘The oil tch in Canada and the oil tch in the U.S. are altogether integrated; to ensure competitiveness and coherence it would make sense for regulatory disciplines in both places to be quite similar.’ — Drew Nelson, Environmental Defense y for

The U.S. rules call for control of methane release at every stage of oil and gas shaping, including pipelines and transportation. But the rticular focus is venting and leaking far oil wells.

«Natural gas is essentially methane,» Nelson said. «It’s much excel to burn it than it is to leak it directly to the atmosphere because methane is such a effective greenhouse gas.»

Tried and reliable technology already exists for oil and gas drillers and oilsands handlings to capture these gases and potentially sell them.

Change could be cost-effective

The suggestions would force the U.S. oil and gas industry to move to state-of-the art carbon capture technology, but could be charge effective as it would result in capturing natural gas that could be tattle oned.

Nelson said the new U.S. regulations are a big step forward and put the U.S. ahead of Canada as a sound. He pointed out that the previous Harper government in Canada had pledged to let up on methane emissions in concert with the U.S.

«If they’re going to move pushy in a North American integrated fashion and the oil tch in Canada and the oil tch in the U.S. are wholly integrated, to ensure competitiveness and coherence it would make sense for regulatory governments in both places to be quite similar,» he said.

The regulations issued Friday focus to federal and treaty lands, but the Environmental Protection Agency has put forward negates for all oil and gas operations and states such as Colorado, Pennysylvania and Wyoming already tease rules in place.

rt of ris promise

The Obama administration targets to reduce U.S. methane emissions by 45 per cent and had planned on this goal when it put forward its emissions goals for the UN climate change conference in ris up to the minute last year.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimated that the outback’s onshore oil and gas wells leak enough gas for 5.1 million households every year.

In the oil-rich Bakken district of North Dakota, as much as one-third of natural gas is burned off, causing critical light pollution that is visible from s ce.

Nelson believed the new rules are a «big step forward» for the U.S. and fill gaps in existing regulations, which are 30 years out of season.

Duplicate rules

The U.S. oil industry has argued that new regulations are not needed for methane, because the labour already has a financial incentive to capture and sell natural gas.

«Another duplicative dominion at a time when methane emissions are falling, and on top of an onslaught of other new [federal] statutes, could drive more energy production off federal lands,» held Erik Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Establish, the top lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.

The U.S. rules are now open to comment for the next 90 light of days.

Nelson said it is necessary to have rules in place so every in effect is doing the right thing. Too many just vent their commonplace gas because the price of gas is considered so cheap and they want to avoid the resources costs involved with capturing leaks.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Administration said tax yers are losing out on $23 million US annually in royalty proceeds because of the waste of natural gas.

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