Earlier this month, on April 4, US EPA announced its intention to reconsider and possibly rescind a 2016 Final Rule which updated the Clean Air Act New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and gas industry
. This Final Rule aims to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane from sources in the oil and gas sector.
Now, in a letter to oil and gas industry groups dated April 18, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt states that the Agency will give special attention to one certain element of this Final Rule—a requirement for sources to monitor fugitive emissions from equipment components that may leak methane or VOCs, e.g. valves, connectors, open-ended lines, pressure relief devices, closed vent systems, and thief hatches on tanks. This monitoring is to be carried out using a technology called optical gas imaging, or OGI.
EPA will issue a 90-day stay of the deadline for compliance with the fugitive emissions monitoring requirements. That part of the rule was set to take effect on June 3, 2017. As the letter states, “Sources will not need to comply with these requirements while the stay is in effect.” Read Administrator Pruitt’s full letter here.
For a full breakdown of requirements for monitoring fugitive emissions using optical gas imaging, see Section 60.5397a on page 56667 of the Final Rule here.
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