The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled new regulations to reduce methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from the oil and natural gas industry.
The proposed standards come in line with the President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce methane emissions by up to 45% from 2012 levels in the country by 2025.
The regulations require energy producers to identify and repair leaks, gather natural gas from the hydraulically fractured oil wells, and limit emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps and other equipments that are used at natural gas transmission compressor stations.
These measures will also require the industry to reduce VOC and methane emissions from hydraulically fractured and refractured oil wells with potential natural gas and oil.
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."
The US agency estimates that about 30% of the methane emissions are generated from oil production and natural gas production, transmission and distribution activities.
The new regulations are expected to reduce 340,000 to 400,000 short tons of methane as well as 170,000 to 180,000 tons of ozone-forming VOCs in 2025.
Earlier this month, the US Government has released EPA’s Clean Power Plan that establishes standards to curb CO2 emissions from power plants in the country.