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White House to Cut Methane Emissions from Oil, Gas

The oil industry has criticized the Obama Administration’s goal, announced yesterday, to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

Methane emissions from oil and natural gas production are falling and the new proposed regulations could disrupt America’s energy renaissance, said Jack Gerard, American Petroleum Institute president and CEO.

“As oil and natural gas production has risen dramatically, methane emissions have fallen thanks to industry leadership and investment in new technologies,” Gerard said. “And even with that knowledge, the White House has singled out oil and natural gas for regulation, where methane emissions represent only 2 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions will continue to fall as operators innovate and find new ways to capture and deliver more methane to consumers, and existing EPA and state regulations are working. Another layer of burdensome requirements could actually slow down industry progress to reduce methane emissions.”

The EPA says methane emissions accounted for nearly 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, of which nearly 30 percent came from the production transmission and distribution of oil and natural gas. The agency projects oil and gas sector emissions will rise more than 25 percent by 2025 without additional steps to lower them.

The proposed methane emissions limits are part of Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

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2 thoughts on “White House to Cut Methane Emissions from Oil, Gas

  1. First off, the White House has not “singled out oil and natural gas for regulation”. The EL ‘Related Stories’ link at the left of this article titled “Methane Reduction Strategy Released” makes that point perfectly clear: there are 4 reduction strategies outlined for landfills, coal mines, agriculture, and oil&gas. Furthermore, the administration’s ‘Climate Action Plan’ goes far beyond methane reductions. There is no ‘singling out’ taking place here.
    Next, Gerard claims that “methane emissions represent only 2 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.” But in reality, methane represents about 10% of total GHG emissions in the U.S. (Graph here: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/ghg/us-ghg-emissions.html). And “natural gas and petroleum systems are the largest source of [methane] emissions from industry in the United States” according to the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html). “Nearly 30 percent of methane emissions in the U.S. in 2012 came from oil production and the production, processing, transmission and distribution of natural gas. While methane emissions from the oil and gas industry have declined 16 percent since 1990, they are projected to increase by about 25 percent over the next decade if additional steps are not taken to reduce emissions from this rapidly growing industry.” (http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/ba7961bf631c87bf85257dcd00526ff7!opendocument)

  2. Kudos to Obama’s EPA for tackling an important if underreported aspect of fighting climate change which is the reduction of the most potent greenhouse gas there is; methane. I used to think Obama exploited the environmental movement by only giving lip service to its issues but now I’m convinced that he is going to go down as the US Pres. who finally tackled climate change in a meaningful way.

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