On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions that will apply to the oil and gas sector, part of EPA’s plan to institute a comprehensive strategy for dealing with methane in oil and gas production. The proposed rules would alter the greenhouse emissions reporting program first mandated by Congress in 2008.
Specifically, the new rules will change the calculation methods for oil and gas emissions by changing the units of measurement, altering the equations used for collecting and reporting data, and requiring separate reports for methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide rather than a single category for “carbon dioxide equivalent.” Additionally, the new rules would alter the equations for global warming potential and require oil and gas operators to calculate individual emissions in metric tons.
The proposal predicts that these new rules will “reduce the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies” by “reduc[ing] the number of calculations that need to be completed by reporters” and otherwise improving consistency among reporting entities.
The rule is slated to apply to natural gas transportation and distribution, including by pipeline, as well as petroleum and natural gas extraction.
According to an EPA spokesperson, “The proposed rules would add reporting of GHG emissions from gathering and boosting systems, oil well completions and workovers using hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and blowdowns of natural gas transmission pipelines,” all of which are “areas where GHG emissions data are currently limited.”
Under the current reporting rules, EPA receives regular data from oil and gas production, processing, transmission, and distribution – a total of over 2,100 oil and gas facilities with 224 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent last year.
While it is taking comments for 60 days after the proposals are published in the Federal Register, EPA does not intend to hold public hearings unless requested.