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API: methane regulations inconsistent with US success in emissions reduction

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The dramatic resurgence of the United States as an energy superpower has provided tremendous economic and environmental benefits, API Upstream Director Erik Milito testified during a House Committee hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane regulations.

“Thanks to industry efforts over the past several decades, the United States is leading the world in reducing emissions – down to near 20 year lows – all while energy production has been going up significantly,” said Milito. “Despite our industry’s success in reducing methane emissions, the EPA and several other agencies continue to seek duplicative regulations that will impose significant costs without corresponding environmental or consumer benefits. We have proven we can protect the environment, grow our economy, and simultaneously save the average American family an average US$1337 in energy costs per year.

“In a dynamic, innovation-driven industry like energy, the US should not put in place prescriptive regulations on technological improvements or shrink opportunities for investments that have the potential to deliver environmental benefits and consumer savings for years to come.”

Each of the EPA’s new regulations targeting the oil and natural gas industry – including the Control Techniques Guidelines, and the New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector (API letter to EPA) – could significantly impact the industry’s operations and these cumulative impacts must be considered in conjunction with the impacts of the strict ozone standards and the still pending Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane and venting and flaring rules. The BLM rules could require costly methane controls for some of the very same emission sources already regulated by the EPA. All of this comes on top of existing state regulations on the oil and natural gas industry.

Methane emissions from 1990 - 2014 associated with the natural gas industry declined by 14.8% as US natural gas production increased by 47%, according to EPA data. This shows US emissions of methane from the natural gas sector decreased noticeably during one of the largest increases in natural gas production in the nation’s history. American investments in GHG mitigating technologies are estimated to have totalled US$431.6 billion (2010 dollars) between 2000 and 2014. US based oil and natural gas companies invested an estimated US$217.5 billion in GHG mitigating technologies, significantly more than other US based private industries, which invested an estimated US$102.8 billion, and more than the Federal Government, which invested an estimated US$111.3 billion.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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