EPA Revises VOC Standards for Oil and Gas Storage Tanks

on August 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Bush Plan Could Allow Drilling in Road-Less California

EPA’s revised 2012 VOC emissions standards for oil and natural gas storage tanks provides phased-in emission control deadlines, addressing higher-emitting tanks first and providing sufficient time to install controls.

On August 5, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released final revisions to its 2012 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions from crude oil and natural gas storage tanks.  The revisions facilitate phased-in emission control deadlines, addressing highest emissions first and allowing sufficient time to install controls.  EPA amended its 2012 standards after finding out that more tanks could go on line than its original estimates.  The updates also come in response to petitions from industry and environment groups after issuance of the final rule on April 17, 2012.


Production and Transmission of Natural Gas (EPA)

EPA’s VOC standards apply to tanks that temporarily store liquids produced during production and transmission of oil and gas to control emission of ozone-forming VOCs and other air pollutants.  The updated rule requires tanks that emit six tons or more of VOCs per year to reduce emissions by 95 percent or meet alternative emissions limit specified in the rule.  It does not alter the 2012 standards for natural gas capture from hydraulically fractured wells.

The rule sets a compliance deadline of April 15, 2014 for plants that become operational after April 12, 2013, expecting them to have higher emissions.  Plants that become operational before that date are expected to have lower emissions and have a compliance deadline of April 15, 2015.  The alternative emissions limit allows tanks that have reduced their VOC emissions to less than four tons per year to remove emission controls.

Among other revisions, the rule clarifies test protocols for control equipment, specifies the types of tanks subject to regulations, and adjusts annual report submission requirements.  The revisions also streamline compliance monitoring requirements for existing control installations.

August 6, 2013 via Energy Solutions Forum

Energy Solutions Forum is an energy policy research and data company based in New York City. Follow @EnergySolForum for policy research and stay plugged in with ESF Calendar, the industry’s go-to resource for energy business events in and around NYC.