EPA Should Reinstate Regulations on Methane Leaks & Vents, Many Agree

by Duane Nichols on November 23, 2020

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) must be controlled to meet climate goals

Shell Wants Biden to Reverse Methane Emissions Rollback

From an Article by David Wethe, Bloomberg News on Yahoo! Finance, November 10, 2020

(Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc will push for the reversal of President Donald Trump’s rollback of methane emissions rules and the introduction of carbon pricing when Joe Biden moves into the White House next year.

“Some of the regulatory rollbacks that we’ve seen under the current administration haven’t actually benefited our industry,” Shell U.S. President Gretchen Watkins said Tuesday on a webcast hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership.

The easing of direct regulation of methane emissions put the energy industry in a “backwards-facing position,” while the absence of carbon pricing makes it harder to incentivize new technologies like carbon capture, Watkins said.

“Whoever is in the White House, we will work constructively with them and are actually very much looking forward to building that relationship with the new administration that’s coming in in January,” she added.

The oil and gas industry, which has long been the target of environmental groups, faces increasing pressure from shareholders managing trillions of dollars to address greenhouse-gas emissions such as methane. Shell joined BP Plc in September in calling for Texas regulators to end the routine flaring of natural gas, a by-product of the oil boom in the shale patch.

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Biden should tackle methane on day 1 to impose lasting oil, gas rules

The primary source of methane is natural gas production

From an Article by Ellie Potter, S & P Global, November 13, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden could enact enduring methane regulations on the oil and natural gas sector, so long as he sticks to his campaign promise to make such rules a day-one priority, attorneys said.

“I think if he was efficient and this was one of the priorities, he could,” Christine Wyman, senior principal with Bracewell LLP, said in an interview. “I think it probably is about four-years worth of work.”

The former vice president included “requiring aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations” among his top priorities heading into his first day on the job, according to Biden’s clean energy revolution plan.

The Trump administration finalized several rules that effectively rolled back the bulk of the Obama-era methane regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, or BLM. Biden’s upcoming four-year term could afford the president-elect enough time to repeal and replace President Donald Trump’s methane rules on new and existing methane sources in the oil and gas sector, according to several attorneys.

Specifically, the EPA finalized two rules in August that no longer require oil and gas companies to monitor facilities for methane leaks and removed volatile organic compound regulations from transmission and storage infrastructure. In doing so, the agency effectively rescinded its authority to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources. The Obama administration initiated the process to begin developing a regulation for existing sources in late 2016, but the Trump administration scrapped those efforts a few months later.

The Biden administration would have to justify imposing EPA methane regulations on the oil and gas sector just months after the agency explained its rationale for no longer regulating the greenhouse gas, Wyman said. In putting forth a replacement rule, the incoming administration may have to devote more resources to “trying to respond to what the Trump administration did and bolster the record there,” she said.

Under Biden, the EPA could finalize durable rules by strengthening regulations on new sources, reversing Trump’s rollbacks and simultaneously beginning a rulemaking for existing methane sources, according to Rosalie Winn, senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund.

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M K Hunt November 24, 2020 at 12:20 am

Dozens of oil and gas companies agree to methane reduction targets

Article by Rachel Frazin, The Hill, 11/23/20

A group of 62 mostly European oil and gas companies have agreed to both report their emissions of methane to a United Nations-linked group and to targeted reductions for methane emissions.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is significantly more powerful than carbon dioxide. It is the main component of natural gas and is often emitted during production and transportation of fossil fuels.

The new agreement, which includes large firms such as Shell and BP as well as smaller ones, calls for companies to report their emissions from all parts of the oil and gas sector where methane can be emitted, including production and transmission of fuel to underground storage.

These emissions would be reported as part of the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP), which was launched at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit in 2014.

The agreement states that the data will be kept largely confidential, though the U.N.’s Environment Programme intends to publish an annual report on the aggregated data.

It also sets a sectorwide goal of reducing methane emissions by 45 percent from 2015 levels by 2025 and either at least a 60 percent reduction by 2030 or alternatively reaching near-zero emission intensity for early parts of the process known as upstream production.

The agreement says that these goals are meant to be average targets and that better performing companies are “expected to set more ambitious targets.”

No U.S.-based company was included in the list of participating companies, though some companies on the list operate in the U.S.

The agreement doesn’t deal with greenhouse gases emitted during consumption of the energy produced by the companies.



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