New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2023 methane emissions rules
EPA has released additional proposal to reduce methane and other pollution from oil and gas operations
Methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas, capable of trapping up to 84 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry are responsible for approximately 25% of methane emissions in the United States. Therefore, reducing methane emissions is considered an important step in achieving the country’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. Thus, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new regulations aimed at reducing methane emissions in the oil and natural gas industry. This initiative seeks to strengthen the country’s efforts to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
A new rule that aims to drastically reduce methane emissions
The proposed new EPA rule aims to drastically reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The regulations would apply to all stages of oil and gas production, from extraction to transportation and storage. Measures proposed by the EPA include requirements to reduce methane leaks from oil and natural gas wells, production equipment, and pipelines, as well as requirements for pipeline operators to monitor methane leaks using advanced technologies
Additionally, the proposal includes requirements for the capture of methane that is currently being burned or vented into the atmosphere. This new regulation is considered one of the most significant actions taken by the Biden administration to fight climate change. It follows several other measures taken by the administration, including rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
One of the most significant aspects of the EPA’s latest proposal is its “super-emitter response program,” which focuses on super-emitters, such as massive leakages or blowouts of methane emissions. Under this program, a regulatory body or a qualified third party approved by EPA could track plants’ emissions, identify super-emitters, and notify the plant’s operators of the issue. After being notified, operators of a super-emitting facility would have five days to analyze the data and determine the cause of the emissions. The operator would then need to take corrective action within ten days or develop an action plan to address the problem.
The EPA’s proposal has been praised for empowering communities and watchdog groups to hold local polluters accountable. However, environmental experts warn that the proposal is not a silver bullet for climate change, as methane leaks from the oil and gas industry only contribute about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Reference: Standards of Performance for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources and Emissions Guidelines for Existing Sources: Oil and Natural Gas Sector Climate Review by the Environmental Protection Agency
How to prepare for action ?
Specific devices called gas analyzers are used to measure the concentration of CH4 in air. These analyzers can be portable and autonomous, allowing quick and reliable measurements.
Olythe is specialized in the production of NDIR sensors for gas sensing, including methane. We offer custom solutions, helping companies to define their needs and requirements for CH4 monitoring. Thanks to our expertise in gas sensing and our understanding of the specific challenges associated with methane measurements in air, we can provide custom advice and support. Our infrared spectroscopy sensors can be integrated into portable and mobile systems with high accuracy and reliability.
Our solution: our NDIR OCIEngine methane sensor
OCIEngine PRO methane CH4 is an infrared spectrometer that measures methane in air.
Methane detection by NDIR involves measuring the absorption of infrared light by the gas. A gas detector exposes the sample to infrared light, filters the wavelength corresponding to methane and then measures the intensity of the light that has passed through the sample. The decrease in intensity is proportional to the concentration of methane, according to the Beer-Lambert law.
NDIR sensors are preferred for methane monitoring in air because they are accurate, reliable and can detect CH4 on a large concentration level, in parts per million (ppm) or % range.