More methane emissions rules likely in New Mexico


As New Mexico begins exploring regulatory ways to reduce methane emissions from the state’s oil and gas industry, an advisory panel has released a report explaining how those emissions are produced. It also offers suggestions how the state might be able to curb pollution from the industry.

The 300-page report was released this month, just ahead of when the state will start working in 2020 on drafting formal rules targeting the methane emissions.


Despite industry claims that companies have been able to reduce emissions while still setting production records,  environmentalists have been pushing hard for more regulations at the state level to target methane leaks and the practice of venting and flaring, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The report came after four months of meetings held by the Methane Advisory Panel which was comprised of more than two dozen experts with knowledge of the oil and gas industry. Among those on the panel were experts from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Colorado State University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney said the effort put into the report is unparalleled in its thoroughness.

“This is exactly the baseline information we need to effectively tackle methane emissions in our state,” he said.

The state will accept public comment on the report through Feb. 20.

The report highlights various strategies to reduce emissions, such as switching to low- or no-bleed pneumatic controllers and increasing leak detection and monitoring equipment. The need for more infrastructure also was identified as a possible way to reduce venting and flaring — although the report stated flaring, or the burning off of excess natural gas during extraction, was a necessary part of the process.

Source:  Santa Fe New Mexican

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