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EPA Publishes New Rules

Posted on April 25, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published new rules that affect the natural gas industry, such as wellhead operations, transmission, storage and natural gas processing. The rules are designed to reduce emissions of both Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and methane.

The new rules include an extended compliance date (Jan. 1, 2015) for the requirement to use “green completions” whenever feasible. Other control techniques, such as traditional pit flaring, will be allowed after the compliance date, but only in cases where safety consideration or other technical difficulties make green completions infeasible to accomplish.

While flaring will be allowed, the EPA also specifies that flares must be at least 95% efficient. The EPA also modified the definition of a green completion to focus on performance, rather than specific equipment requirements. The agency also decided against finalizing requirements for compressors and pneumatic controllers in the transmission segment of the industry.

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