EPA proposes withdrawing 2016 control techniques guidelines for VOCs

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed withdrawing control techniques guidelines (CTGs) for the oil and gas industry which it instituted in 2016 to control volatile organic compound emissions from oil and gas operations. The proposal would save the industry $14-16 million in compliance expenses from 2021 to 2035, the agency said on Mar. 1.

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed withdrawing control techniques guidelines (CTGs) for the oil and gas industry which it instituted in 2016 to control volatile organic compound emissions from oil and gas operations. The proposal would save the industry $14-16 million in compliance expenses from 2021 to 2035, the agency said on Mar. 1.

The agency also announced that it finalized amendments for certain requirements contained within the 2016 Oil and Gas New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). Comments on each action will be accepted for 45 days following its publication in the Federal Register in the next few days.

The CTGs were intended to provide recommendations to certain states and ozone non-attainment areas to address formation of VOC emissions from the industry and other covered sources as part of state implementation plans (SIPs) to meet EPA’s national standards for ground-level ozone. The 2016 Oil and Gas CTG included recommendations for reducing VOC emissions from existing oil and gas equipment and processes, EPA indicated.

It said that it is reconsidering certain aspects of the 2016 NSPS and intends to look broadly at the rule during the reconsideration process. Because Oil and Gas CTG recommendations are linked fundamentally to conclusions in the 2016 NSPS, EPA said it considers it prudent to withdraw the entire Oil and Gas CTG.

“We believe the proposed withdrawal of the CTGs are necessary to provide regulatory certainty to one of the largest sectors of the American economy, and avoid unnecessary compliance costs to both covered entities and the states,” EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum said.

An American Petroleum Institute official welcomed the moves. “We hope EPA makes additional improvements to ensure that its rules are science-based and cost-effective,” API Senior Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Director Howard J. Feldman said. “Ozone concentrations and methane emissions are down significantly and air quality continues to improve thanks in part to increased use of domestic natural gas and industry investments in advancing technology.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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