California lawmakers pass in-state gas system methane emissions bill

The California Senate passed a bill aimed at curbing methane emissions from intrastate natural gas pipelines and local distribution systems. SB 1371, which was approved by 23 to 11 votes on Aug. 27, passed the state’s Assembly a day earlier by 57 to 20 votes. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for final action.

The measure would require that each in-state gas pipeline and local distribution company file a report as soon as possible that would include a summary of utility leak management practices, a list of new methane leaks in 2013 by grade, a list of open leaks that are being monitored or are scheduled to be repaired, and a best estimate of gas loss due to leaks.

California’s Public Utilities Commission would be required to begin a proceeding by Jan. 15, 2015, in consultation with the state’s Air Resources Board, to adopt rules and procedures which would:

• Provide for the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective avoidance, reduction, and repair of leaks and leaking components in CPUC-regulated intrastate gas transmission and distribution lines within a reasonable time after discovery.

• Provide for the repair of such leaks as soon as possible after discovery, consistent with established safety requirements and the goals of reducing air pollution and the climate change impacts of methane emissions.

• Evaluate the operations, maintenance, and repair practices for those facilities to determine whether existing practices are effective at reducing methane leaks and promoting public safety, achieve the bill’s goals, and whether alternative practices may be more effective.

• Establish and require the use of best practices for leak surveys, patrols, leak survey technology, leak prevention, and leak reduction.

The bill also would establish protocols and procedures for the development and use of metrics to quantify the volume of emissions from leaking gas lines and for evaluating and tracking leaks geographically.

These would be incorporated into a gas corporation’s operating plan for its CPUC-regulated transmission or distribution pipelines, or into other state emissions tracking systems, or both, including CARB regulations for reporting greenhouse gases. The metrics would be required to provide operators, the commission, and the public with accurate information about the number and severity of leaks and about the quantity of gas that is emitted into the atmosphere over time.

Intrastate pipeline and local distribution system owners also would be required, to the extent feasible, to calculate and report to both CPUC and CARB a baseline system-wide leak rate, to periodically update that calculation, and to annually report measures that will be taken the following year to reduce the leak rate to achieve SB 1371’s goals.

The bill also would make CPUC consider specified topics in a manner consistent with its existing ratemaking procedures and authority to establish just and reasonable rates.

“In order to protect public health and the environment, we must keep natural gas in the pipes where it belongs as opposed to letting it leak into the air,” said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill’s main sponsor. “SB 1371 serves this dual purpose by ensuring that leaking gas pipes are repaired quickly and in a cost-efficient manner for consumers.”

California is the nation’s second-largest gas consumer, with more than 100,000 miles of pipes and other equipment delivering the fuel to customers across the state, he noted. The legislature’s approval of the bill reinforces California’s leadership in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, with the added benefit of eliminating waste of a critical energy resource, Leno said.

SB 1371 was supported by the American Lung Association’s California chapter, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, BlueGreen Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, and other environmental and consumer groups. Tim O’Conner, who directs EDF’s California Climate Strategy, called the vote “a huge step towards the build-out of comprehensive strategy in California to reduce methane pollution.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

BLM approves ROW for Elko gas pipeline expansion project

07/07/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management’s Tuscarora, Nev., field office signed a decision record approving a right-of-way for Paiute Pipeline Co.’s (PPC) ...

Obama urged by IPAA president to lift ban on US crude exports

07/07/2015 Commending the administration for its actions allowing some condensate to be exported as a petroleum product, Independent Petroleum Association of ...

AER shuts in 16 Murphy Oil sites in Peace River region for noncompliance

07/07/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator said it has shut in or partially shut in 16 sites operated by Murphy Oil Co. Ltd. in the Peace River region. The sites wer...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices take dive on world oil oversupply concerns

07/07/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices plummeted more than $4/bbl on the New York market July 6, marking a 5-month low, while Brent crude oil prices on t...

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

Cenovus sells royalty business for $3.3 billion

07/06/2015 Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary, inked an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Heritage Royalty LP to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for gros...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...

AGL Energy to scale back upstream gas operations

07/06/2015

Gas retailer AGL Energy Ltd., Sydney, says it will exit the oil business and massively scaling back its upstream gas operations.

White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected