BLM: New Flaring Regulations Proposed

by Elizabeth Alford on January 26, 2016

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is on a mission for a ‘cleaner, more secure energy future’ that may include reduced flaring.

Related:  New Ruling to Slash Methane Emissions

Last Friday, the BLM proposed new rules that would limit venting and flaring at gas wells on public and tribal lands in order to reduce the wasteful release of natural gas. The measures are a result of recommendations based on several government studies, public forums and tribal consultation over the last two years and will update current regulations that are 30 years old.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said “I think most people would agree that we should be using our nation’s natural gas to power our economy – not wasting it by venting and flaring it into the atmosphere. We need to modernize decades-old standards to reflect existing technologies so that we can cut down on harmful methane emissions and use this captured natural gas to generate power and provide a return to taxpayers, tribes and states for this public resource. We look forward to hearing from the public on this proposal.”

If approved, the measures could have some long-term effects on the nation’s air quality and on oil and gas producers who would be required to step up their maintenance to include:

  • Adopting currently available technologies, processes and equipment that would limit the rate of flaring at oil wells on public and tribal lands
  • Periodically inspecting their operations for leaks
  • Replacing outdated equipment that vents large quantities of gas into the air
  • Limited venting from storage tanks and use best practices to limit gas losses when removing liquids from wells.
  • Clarifying when operators owe royalties on flared gas

The proposal announced today is consistent with the Obama Administration’s goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 – 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025

The public will have 60 days to submit comments on the proposal once it is published in the Federal Register. The BLM also plans to hold a series of public meetings on the proposed rule in February and March.


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