PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • May 13, 2016

    By Frank Vlossak

    On May 12, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rule titled “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources”. The final rule is based on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that the EPA published on September 18, 2015. The final rule imposes significant new requirements for the oil and gas industry, including producers and natural gas pipeline operators, to identify and limit methane emissions.

    Also on May 12, the EPA issued:
    • A notice announcing the “Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Information Collection Effort for Oil and Gas Facilities”. The Information Collection Request (ICR) is the first step towards establishing emissions regulations for existing oil and gas sector sources. The Obama Administration committed to issuing the ICR in March in the U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership”. The draft ICR is subject to public comment for 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register. Once finalized, the ICR will be submitted to the industry, which must then provide the requested data to the EPA. 
    • The final rule on “Source Determination for Certain Emission Units in the Oil and Natural Gas Sector”.
    • The final rule establishing a “Federal Implementation Plan for True Minor Sources in Indian Country in the Oil and Natural Gas Production and Natural Gas Processing Segments of the Oil and Natural Gas Sector”.

    As described by an EPA fact sheet, the final rule on new source emissions reductions sets “emissions limits for methane, which is the principal greenhouse gas emitted by equipment and processes in the oil and gas sector.” The final rule includes required emissions reductions for: oil and gas wells; natural gas processing plants; natural gas storage; and natural gas pipelines. Owners and operators of hydraulically fractured wells will be required to implement reduced emissions completions, also known as “green completions”. Prior to implementing green completions, covered wells must “reduce emissions using combustion controls.” The compliance date for the final rule will be sixty days following publication in the Federal Register.

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  • April 18, 2016

    By Frank Vlossak

    On April 14, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released the text of the draft “Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016” (“PIPES Act”). Full Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), along with Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Ranking Member Mike Capuano (D-MA) are sponsors of the legislation, which the Committee is scheduled to vote on during a markup on Wednesday, April 20.

    Release of the bill follows Senate passage of the “Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act” (S. 2276) on March 3, 2016, and the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee’s approval of the “Pipeline Safety Act of 2016” (discussion draft) on March 16.

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  • March 23, 2016

    By Frank Vlossak

    On March 17, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines”. The Obama Administration has been developing this significant rulemaking over the last several years. It will establish new requirements for: how operators inspect natural gas transmission pipelines, including in-line inspections (ILI); what actions they take in response to those inspections; and how they verify the maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of pipelines. In developing the MAOP requirements, PHMSA is implementing Section 23(a) of the “Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011” (P.L. 112-90), which directed the agency to implement requirements for verifying the MAOP for older “grandfathered” natural gas pipelines. On August 7, 2013, PHMSA held a “Public Workshop on Integrity Verification Process”, which was one of the first steps in developing the MAOP provisions included in this proposed rule. The NPRM imposes new regulatory requirements on certain gas gathering lines, and includes other new requirements that implement provisions of the “Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act.”

    PHMSA began the process of developing this NPRM in 2011, with publication of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines”. This gas pipeline safety NPRM parallels the “Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines” NPRM, which PHMSA published on October 13, 2015.

    Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, it will be subject to a 60-day public comment period. It is also expected that PHMSA will convene its Gas Pipeline Technical Advisory Committee to provide input which will be considered in developing the final rule. Following the comment period and meeting of the Gas Pipeline Technical Advisory Committee, it will likely take PHMSA six months or more to draft and promulgate the final rule.

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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • May 13, 2016

    By Frank Vlossak

    On May 12, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rule titled “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources”. The final rule is based on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that the EPA published on September 18, 2015. The final rule imposes significant new requirements for the oil and gas industry, including producers and natural gas pipeline operators, to identify and limit methane emissions.

    Also on May 12, the EPA issued:
    • A notice announcing the “Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Information Collection Effort for Oil and Gas Facilities”. The Information Collection Request (ICR) is the first step towards establishing emissions regulations for existing oil and gas sector sources. The Obama Administration committed to issuing the ICR in March in the U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership”. The draft ICR is subject to public comment for 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register. Once finalized, the ICR will be submitted to the industry, which must then provide the requested data to the EPA. 
    • The final rule on “Source Determination for Certain Emission Units in the Oil and Natural Gas Sector”.
    • The final rule establishing a “Federal Implementation Plan for True Minor Sources in Indian Country in the Oil and Natural Gas Production and Natural Gas Processing Segments of the Oil and Natural Gas Sector”.

    As described by an EPA fact sheet, the final rule on new source emissions reductions sets “emissions limits for methane, which is the principal greenhouse gas emitted by equipment and processes in the oil and gas sector.” The final rule includes required emissions reductions for: oil and gas wells; natural gas processing plants; natural gas storage; and natural gas pipelines. Owners and operators of hydraulically fractured wells will be required to implement reduced emissions completions, also known as “green completions”. Prior to implementing green completions, covered wells must “reduce emissions using combustion controls.” The compliance date for the final rule will be sixty days following publication in the Federal Register.

    Read...

    Read More
  • April 18, 2016

    By Frank Vlossak

    On April 14, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released the text of the draft “Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016” (“PIPES Act”). Full Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), along with Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Ranking Member Mike Capuano (D-MA) are sponsors of the legislation, which the Committee is scheduled to vote on during a markup on Wednesday, April 20.

    Release of the bill follows Senate passage of the “Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act” (S. 2276) on March 3, 2016, and the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee’s approval of the “Pipeline Safety Act of 2016” (discussion draft) on March 16.

    Read...

    Read More
  • March 23, 2016

    By Frank Vlossak

    On March 17, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines”. The Obama Administration has been developing this significant rulemaking over the last several years. It will establish new requirements for: how operators inspect natural gas transmission pipelines, including in-line inspections (ILI); what actions they take in response to those inspections; and how they verify the maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of pipelines. In developing the MAOP requirements, PHMSA is implementing Section 23(a) of the “Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011” (P.L. 112-90), which directed the agency to implement requirements for verifying the MAOP for older “grandfathered” natural gas pipelines. On August 7, 2013, PHMSA held a “Public Workshop on Integrity Verification Process”, which was one of the first steps in developing the MAOP provisions included in this proposed rule. The NPRM imposes new regulatory requirements on certain gas gathering lines, and includes other new requirements that implement provisions of the “Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act.”

    PHMSA began the process of developing this NPRM in 2011, with publication of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines”. This gas pipeline safety NPRM parallels the “Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines” NPRM, which PHMSA published on October 13, 2015.

    Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, it will be subject to a 60-day public comment period. It is also expected that PHMSA will convene its Gas Pipeline Technical Advisory Committee to provide input which will be considered in developing the final rule. Following the comment period and meeting of the Gas Pipeline Technical Advisory Committee, it will likely take PHMSA six months or more to draft and promulgate the final rule.

    Read...

    Read More

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