EPA proposes new rules to cut down methane emissions from oil and gas industry

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new standards to reduce methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from the oil and natural gas industry.

The new regulations are in line with president Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan which targets reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% by 2025, as compared to 2012 levels.

These introduced standards will prompt energy producers to find and repair leaks, collect natural gas from the hydraulically fractured oil wells, and limit emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps and other equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said: "Cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas are key compliance options for our Clean Power Plan and we are committed to ensuring safe and responsible production that supports a robust clean energy economy."

According to EPA estimates, nearly 30% of the methane emissions in the US are the outcome of oil and natural gas production, transmission and distribution activities.

These federal regulations are expected to reduce 340,000 to 400,000 short tonnes of methane, which can lead to net climate benefits of $120m to $150m.

EPA also expects the standards to lessen emission of 170,000t to 180,000t of ozone-forming VOCs in 2025.

Earlier in the month, the agency has also released a Clean Power Plan which puts forward federal standards to bring down CO² emissions from power plants in the US.

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