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API: modified methane rules support further emissions reductions

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has issued the following statement following the signing by Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of modified methane rules during an event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, yesterday. The modified rules further align the agency with its statutory obligations under the Clean Air Act while enabling continued emissions reductions.

“We support this revision as it is consistent with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Our industry continues to drive down methane emissions from operations while meeting America’s energy needs every day. Under these modified rules, operators will still be required to control emissions, and the industry continues to make progress in reducing methane emissions through new technologies. Thanks to measurable industry actions, promoted by initiatives like The Environmental Partnership, methane emission rates from five of the largest producing regions across the US have fallen more than 60% from 2011 to 2018 – even as production in those regions has increased dramatically.”

For nearly a decade, EPA officials have been clear that NSPS targeting emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) “will also decrease methane emissions,” negating the need for another layer of government regulation.

In the Marcellus and Utica Basins, the primary producing regions of Pennsylvania and Ohio, methane emission rates declined more than 75% as production increased from 2011 to 2018. In the Permian Basin, spanning Texas and New Mexico, production surged 170% over the same period, but methane emissions relative to production declined nearly 45%. Production in the the Eagle Ford Basin of Texas grew 140% as well, and methane emissions relative to production fell more than 70%. A study by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration also found that overall US methane emissions have remained flat since 2006 despite increased oil and natural gas production.

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