Regulating Methane Emissions

Regulating Methane Emissions

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In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the QuadOa (OOOOa) regulations to reduce the level of greenhouse gases (GHG), such as methane, released into the atmosphere by the oil and gas industry. A figure that totaled 231.4 million tons in 2015 alone. These GHGs endanger the public health and welfare of both current and future generations, contributing to extreme weather patterns, rising heat and sea levels, and an increase in diseases. For example, the EPA reports an additional 50 to 100 cases of Lyme disease per 100,000 people in 2010 than in 1991.

OOOOa requires leak detection and repair (LDAR) of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at newly drilled or refractured well sites, gathering and boosting stations, and transmission and storage compressor stations. It also requires reductions from centrifugal compressors, reciprocating compressors, pneumatic controllers and pumps.

The regulation is anticipated to reduce new emissions to a CO2 equivalent of between 3.8 – 4.0 million metric tons by 2020, increasing to 7.7 – 9.0 million metric tons by 2025.

The anticipated benefits are significant. The EPA expects major improvements in ambient air quality and reductions in the negative health effects associated with exposure to HAP and ozone erosion. And there’s a considerable commercial upside too. Averted methane leaks can then be directed into production streams and sold.

Under the new legislation, optical gas imaging (OGI) has been recommended as the best available technology for all routine gas leak inspections, whether quarterly or semi-annually.

OGI uses infrared thermal imaging cameras to enable operators to visualize hydrocarbons and identify plumes of leaking gas. They can identify the source of the leak with pinpoint accuracy and take swift mitigating action. The new regulation still allows for the continued use of the existing gas sniffer technology, but supporting documents show that OGI cameras, such as EyeCGas, can detect similar leaks much faster than gas sniffers and are therefore significantly more cost-effective.

The legislation came into effect in August 2016 and will be mandatory by June 2017. OGI offers operators a safe, simple and efficient solution for leak detection and repair while reducing the impact of oil and gas emissions on the environment.

Are you prepared for the changes?