ICAC Meets with EPA on Methane Strategy and Controls
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Posted by: Allison Yeates
On May 18th, ICAC members met with EPA staff, including Division Director Paul Gunning, from EPA’s Climate Change Division within the Office of Atmospheric Programs (OAP), and Dave Cozzie from the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS). OAP & OAQPS are both within the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR). The meeting was a follow-up to a similar meeting held in June 2014.
Mr. Gunning provided an overview of EPA’s efforts to implement the Obama Administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions announced in January. The methane strategy is part of the larger effort to implement the administration’s climate action plan of which the proposed Clean Power Plan for the power sector is the centerpiece. Mr. Gunning said that EPA will be moving on two parallel fronts to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas (O&G) sector, an enhanced voluntary program that will be proposed in June and a regulatory proposal to follow. The Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior will also propose regulations for methane reductions from the O&G sector that are on public lands.
The voluntary program will target coal mining, agricultural biogas, and landfill gas. Mr. Gunning claims that voluntary efforts thus far have been very successful in changing the trajectory of methane emissions from the O&G sector. The proposed regulatory effort will concentrate on upstream operations within the O&G sector, including pneumatic valve releases, compressors, and fugitive emissions. Mr. Cozzie indicated that OAQS will propose a regulation this summer under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act for new and modified sources within the O&G sector. Oil well fracking may be addressed in the proposed rule as earlier rules only addressed natural gas fracking. Finally, Mr. Gunning indicated that they plan on developing control techniques guidelines (CTGs) for the O&G sector that would have to be evaluated and adopted by states in their ozone NAAQS attainment reasonable available control technology (RACT) demonstrations if they have O&G operations in nonattainment areas.
ICAC members gave presentations on technology and measurement and monitoring equipment. Aziz Jamaluddin, Epcon Industrial Systems, gave an overview of the various vapor combustion units available in the marketplace, including afterburners, storage tank venting, recuperative thermal oxidizers, and regenerative thermal oxidizers. Karl Walby, Durr Systems, followed with a presentation on micro gas turbine – compact power systems applications in the O&G sector that are particularly helpful in off-grid situations. Finally, Gary Hunt, TRC Solutions, gave an overview of the various methane measurement methodologies and techniques, usually infrared-based, that can be used in the field to measure methane concentrations both at sources and in the ambient air.