Energy > AG Speaking Energy > Relax, Don’t Do It: EPA Eases Leak Detection and Monitoring Requirements for Oil and Gas Industry
05 Mar '18

On February 23, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a prepublication notice to change the Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources rule (“2016 Rule”). The rule, soon to be published in the Federal Register, addresses the so-called “delayed repairs” requirement of the rule, and will eliminate the requirement that well and compressor station owners or operators repair leaks during unscheduled or emergency blowdowns, shutdowns, or shut-ins. The new rule will allow the owners and operators to wait to repair a leak until the next scheduled blowdown, shutdown or shut-in, or do so within two years, whichever is earlier. The changes reflect the EPA’s resolution of industry complaints received in response to a November 2017 request for comment, including concerns related to service disruptions and higher shutdown emissions caused by depressurizing the equipment in order to repair it. Additional industry comments that relate to other aspects of the 2016 Rule, however, remain to be addressed in subsequent EPA rulemakings.