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.

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