US environment body wants the oil and gas industry to rein in methane pollution

The US Environmental Protection Agency will release a strategy to address methane leaks from the oil and gas sector this autumn, agency administrator Gina McCarthy told the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York City on 2 September.

‘We need to make sure we are putting our investments in the places that make the most sense – where methane is being emitted, and what types of technologies and opportunities there are to build an infrastructure for the long-haul,’ she said.

McCarthy also stressed that the Obama administration recognises methane pollution as a by-product that is being wasted. ‘The less methane is leaked and gets away from you, the more profitable your business will be, and the better it is for our family’s health,’ she stated. ‘We need to commit to getting the methane leaks out of the system, to capturing those leaks as product, and to delivering the benefits that consumers expect.’

The EPA will consider, together with input from industry and other stakeholders, whether to pursue voluntary or targeted regulatory approaches, or both. ‘There are lots of things we can do under the Clean Air Act, and there are lots of things we can do to expand our voluntary programmes,’ McCarthy said.