Amid considerable controversy, the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) issued a Final Rule on May 27, 2015, re-defining and expanding the definition of jurisdictional “waters of the U.S.” under the federal Clean Water Act.
Continue Reading How Will EPA’s New Definition of “Waters of the U.S.” Affect Oil & Gas Pipelines?

Regulators and researchers alike have long been trying to accurately estimate leakage rates from natural gas infrastructure, in order to understand the potential effects of such emissions on climate and human health.
Continue Reading New Research Indicates Decreased Methane Emissions from Distribution Pipelines

Effective October 1, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will allow interstate natural gas pipelines to seek to recover certain capital expenditures involving changes to pipeline system infrastructure that enhance system reliability, safety and regulatory compliance.
Continue Reading FERC Implements New Cost Recovery Policy for Gas Facility Modifications

The US oil and gas industry has been transformed over the past few years by development of new shale resources. The US is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas and on track to be the world’s largest producer of oil. These changes have affected America’s energy future, as well as global markets.
Continue Reading Pipeline Law 2015: The Year Of Living Uncertainly

In a report issued on July 25, 2014, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a series of recommendations for EPA to increase its efforts to reduce methane emissions from natural gas distribution pipelines, including partnering with PHMSA to develop a joint strategy.
Continue Reading EPA Inspector General Recommends Improvements to Address Methane Emissions

The President and several states recently proposed measures to reduce methane emissions associated with oil and gas facilities, particularly from drilling activities.  After CO2, methane is thought to be the most common greenhouse gas (estimated at 8.7% of emissions for 2012 as compared to 82.5% for CO2).  Methane degrades more quickly than CO2, but it has a more significant effect on the atmospheric ozone layer before degrading.  The primary source of methane is from natural sources, followed by agriculture.  Human activity is estimated to contribute over 60% of methane emissions globally, and of that approximately 29% from oil and gas operations (6% oil; 23% natural gas).  Methane leaks and releases may occur throughout the oil and natural gas supply chain and can be mitigated through the implementation of control technologies and leak detection monitoring.  While EPA promulgated new source performance standards (NSPS) in 2012 to limit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas wells and production facilities, the President’s new plan and new state regulations go further in specifically target methane emissions from a broader range of emission sources in the oil and natural gas sectors.

Continue Reading Whitehouse and States Target Oil and Gas Methane Emissions

EPA has established new deadlines and caps on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from storage tanks used in oil and natural gas production and transmission that have the potential to emit more than 6 tons of VOCs per year. The pre-publication version of the new rule, to be codified as amendments to 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart 0000, can be accessed here, and will be effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. The rule generally applies to tanks involved in temporary storage along the oil and natural gas production and transmission process, before the liquids are moved to a pipeline, sold or disposed.

Continue Reading EPA Issues New Oil Tank Emission Standards and Deadlines

The EPA Inspector General issued an audit report on February 21, 2013, analyzing oil and gas production emissions data contained in the 2008 National Emissions Inventory. The IG drew several conclusions from its review, including that the data is limited and incomplete for several key air pollutants, and that there are data gaps for some

Despite the goal of the 2005 Energy Policy Act’s (EPAct) to streamline and expedite permitting for natural gas pipeline construction projects, a recent study funded by INGAA found that non-FERC agencies have experienced increased delays in permitting projects. The percentage of federal authorizations issued more than 90 days beyond FERC’s issuance of its final NEPA