In support of US President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have announced the release of up to $350m in formula grant funding. This funding aims to facilitate the monitoring and mitigation of methane emissions, a significant contributor to climate change, originating from the oil and gas (O&G) sector. Additionally, it will be directed towards environmental restoration efforts at well sites.

Made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, this funding will also assist owners of oil and gas wells and operators of relevant facilities in proactively and permanently reducing methane emissions from both leaks and day-to-day operations of low-producing conventional wells on non-federal lands. Operating under the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, EPA and DOE intend to address inefficiencies within US O&G operations, foster job creation in energy communities, and yield immediate reductions in emissions, thus propelling the nation closer to its ambitious climate and clean air objectives.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said: “Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so it’s crucial that we work closely with states and industry to develop solutions that will cut emissions at their source.

“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE’s partnership with EPA will bolster our national efforts to monitor and mitigate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector – our largest source of industrial methane – while helping revitalise energy communities and delivering long-lasting health and environmental benefits across the country.”

This initiative marks the initial step in a sequence of funding prospects established by the Inflation Reduction Act, each aimed at addressing the monitoring and curbing of methane emissions stemming from the oil and gas industry. Subsequent to this non-competitive solicitation, both the EPA and DOE intend to unveil competitive funding opportunities. Moreover, they have joined forces to extend technical support, aiding the industry in its efforts to monitor and mitigate methane emissions originating from leaks and daily activities.

By combining both technical guidance and financial support, this comprehensive approach is poised to enhance the efficiency of US oil and gas operations. Simultaneously, it will usher in fresh economic prospects within energy communities while achieving tangible, short-term reductions in emissions.

The EPA and DOE are engaged in a collaborative effort, in conjunction with fellow participants of the recently established White House Methane Task Force. This task force is dedicated to adopting a comprehensive government-wide strategy for the early detection of methane leaks and enhancing transparency in data. Furthermore, it is providing backing for state and local initiatives aimed at mitigating and enforcing regulations related to methane emissions.

The initiatives introduced by the EPA and DOE today expedite the implementation of the US Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. These actions serve as a continuation of the momentum generated by over 80 administrative measures undertaken within less than a year since the plan’s inception in November 2022.