Last month the EPA unveiled the next stage of their ongoing battle against the energy industry, wherein they would scale back methane emissions around drilling sites and other industrial activities. The need for these new rules was clear, they explained, because their own scientists had predicted a 25% increase in such emissions in this decade alone. That sounds ominous to be sure and we wouldn’t want that much natural gas (of which methane is a primary component) leaking all over the place. Think of the children! Experts had already been predicting a major shift in how we dealt with such issues. (CNBC)
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulations on Tuesday aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels.
The rules would apply to new or modified sources of oil and natural gas and require energy companies to find and repair leaks, capture natural gas during the completion of hydraulically fractured wells, and limit emissions from pneumatic pumps and several other types of equipment.
The “40% over the next decade” quote is somewhat deceiving since they are basing measurements on a relatively old benchmark, but if they could manage to knock off ten percent in a couple of years it would be a good step in the right direction and possibly put them on track toward their target. Unfortunately for the EPA, they really don’t seem to pay much attention to the industry they propose to regulate. Starting from 2012 levels they had anticipated that levels would be rocketing skyward during the new American energy boom. Unfortunately for their planners, pretty much the opposite happened. (Energy Indepth)
Just after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out new regulations on methane emissions for oil and gas development, the agency released the latest data in its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The new data show, once again, that methane emissions from oil and gas development are low and continue to rapidly plummet.
According to EPA, methane emissions from both the petroleum and natural gas systems sector declined 13 percent from 2011 to 2014.
Is there anyone left at the EPA under Obama’s watch who actually understands the energy industry? I’m not expecting them to know the ins and outs of setting a drill bit at a wellhead or to be able to balance the back pressure on a SAGD injection portal, but do they even know what energy companies do? I know we’ve discussed this here a couple of times in the past, but if our legislators have any interest in delving into what’s going on in the agency there are some basic questions they should be asking. Clearly the EPA noticed that methane emissions were a component of operations at fracking operations and once the “F” word was invoked they were all over it.
Here’s a free hint for the EPA and any congressional panels who wish to talk to them. Methane, as I mentioned above, is a key component of natural gas. The fracking wells are drilling for natural gas. Do you think they’re sitting around cackling like cartoon bad guys plotting ways to release more of it into the atmosphere? That’s literally money going up in smoke for them. It would be like checking to see if a gold mine was taking refined gold ore and sprinkling it in people’s swimming pools as a prank. Nobody is going to do that! The industry is already working overtime to figure out ways to capture every last cubic centimeter of methane that comes out of the pipes and they’ve been doing it without needing the EPA getting involved at all.
Emissions are down and not by a little bit. And they’ll keep going down until the most efficient way of producing a profit has been achieved. But you go ahead, EPA… spend more of our tax dollars and take up more legislative time fighting a battle against people who are already working toward the same goal you’re calling for. It’s the genius of the federal government on display.