Implications of the Latest Methane Regulations in the Oil and Gas Industry

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What the Latest Methane Regulations Mean for the Oil and Gas Industry

As part of an effort to reverse climate change and protect people's health, the U.S., through the EPA, introduced the new Clean Air Act rule in November 2022. The new regulations aim to ensure significant, cost-effective reductions in methane emissions and other health-harming air pollutants that continue to endanger communities and the ecosystem. The proposed rule looks at reducing 41 million tons of methane emissions by 2035, with the estimated value of cumulative net climate benefits hitting $48 to $49 billion (about $150 per person in the US) from 2023 to 2035. This is the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The Role of Methane on Climate Change 

A third of warming from greenhouse gases experienced today is attributed to human-caused methane emissions. Methane is a major greenhouse gas, trapping almost 30 times as much heat as carbon dioxide for over a century. The oil and gas industry are the leading source of methane emissions in the U.S., producing far more methane quantities than combined greenhouse gas emissions from 164 countries.

What Are the Features of the Latest Methane Regulations?

The Clean Air Act mandates updated methane emissions reduction conditions for modified, new, and reconstructed oil and gas sources. It requires oil and gas companies to develop plans to limit methane emissions from existing known sources and additional types of sources, such as intermittent vent pneumatic controllers, liquids unloading, and more. The key features of the regulations include:

  • The requirement for well sites and compressor stations to adopt a comprehensive monitoring program.
  • The compliance option allows operators to leverage advanced technology to detect major leaks quickly and at lower costs
  • A zero-emissions standard for all the new and existing pneumatic controllers
  • Requirements for states to engage communities in developing state plans
  • Standards to get rid of venting of associated gas and a requirement to capture and sell gas where sales are available at new and existing oil wells
  • Performance standards and presumptive standards for other categories of new and existing sources, such as pneumatic pumps, storage tanks, and compressors

What the Latest Regulations Mean for the Oil and Gas Industry

The latest rules imply that oil and gas industry players must commit to improving air quality while meeting the energy demands of the market. Regulations close loopholes in existing emissions reduction strategies while demanding greater transparency and accountability regarding methane emissions at oil and gas sites. The regulations recommend using new digital monitoring technologies to understand the causes of emission events better and accurately measure the volume of gas released during operations.

How Digitization Tools Help with the Fight Against Methane Emissions

Finding methane leaks in time helps reduce amounts of emissions, thereby boosting the war against global warming. The new regulations build on the work of leading companies, leveraging the latest digitization tools to reduce methane emissions in the field. Modern digitization tools can detect and measure leaks from remote locations while relaying timely data to take urgent remedial action.

Aegex Digitization Tools Can Help You Manage Leaks

With the growing concern about the role of methane in climate change, Aegex Technologies has developed intrinsically safe and certified tools to detect and measure methane leaks in hazardous environments. Aegex digitization tools, such as the NexVu IoT (Internet of Things) solution, boast best-in-class features, including smart sensors, endpoints, and radios to provide accurate and timely methane detection, measurements, and monitoring in remote locations. 

The Aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablet comes with integrated Windows 10 platform and data-driven predictive maintenance technologies to ensure quality communication and data management in dangerous areas, including abandoned wells and mines. Contact us today to learn more about Aegex digitization tools.