EPA updates oil, gas storage tank emissions requirements

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued updates to standards it brought out in April covering air emissions from oil and gas storage tanks. The updates will phase in control deadlines, starting with higher-emitting tanks first, and will provide the necessary time to ramp up production and installation, it said.

EPA made the changes after receiving information that more storage tanks than it initially estimated will come online, the EPA said. Tanks that emit 6 tons/year or more of volatile organic compounds (VOC) will have to reduce those emissions by 95%, it noted.

It said the Aug. 5 order established two deadlines: Tanks which came online after Apr. 12 and are likely to have higher emissions will have to control VOC releases within 60 days or by Apr. 15, 2014, whichever is later. Tanks which came online before Apr. 12 and are likelier to have lower emissions must control those releases by Apr. 15, 2015.

The updated standards also establish an alternative emissions limit that would allow owners or operators to remove controls if they can demonstrate that the tanks emit less than 4 tons/year of VOC without controls, according to EPA. The rule also streamlines compliance and monitoring requirements for tanks on which controls have been installed already, it said.

The action does not affect requirements which EPA also issued in April covering capturing of natural gas emitted from hydraulically fractured wells, EPA noted.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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