US EPA Announces Intent to Fund Methane Reduction Projects

© currahee_shutter / Adobe Stock
© currahee_shutter / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a Notice of Intent to make funds available to help measure and reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors.

This funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will help oil and natural gas sector operators cut methane emissions and transition to innovative methane emissions reduction technologies, while also supporting partnerships to improve emissions measurement and provide accurate, transparent data to impacted communities.

Through a combination of technical and financial assistance, the Methane Emissions Reduction Program will help reduce inefficiencies in U.S. oil and gas operations, create new jobs in energy and disadvantaged communities, improve public health, and realize near-term emission reductions, said the EPA.

If released, the corresponding funding opportunity would focus on three areas:

• Mitigating methane emissions and reducing other air pollution associated with existing wells and infrastructure. Funds would be provided to mitigate and monitor methane emissions from low-producing wells and other oil and natural gas assets, that are owned and/or operated by small producers/operators, through a small number of awards, which would each fund a selected lead entity such as an organization that represents oil and natural gas producers, a non-governmental research institution, university, or Tribal organization. The intent would be for these organizations to manage and optimize the effective distribution of these funds to owners/operators with relevant oil and natural gas assets, including one award focused on mitigating methane emissions from oil and natural gas assets on Tribal lands. This area is anticipated to complement efforts currently being undertaken by states through recently announced formula grants.

• Accelerating the deployment of innovative methane reduction solutions for reducing emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems. This may include efforts to support the field demonstration of near-commercial solutions that can effectively address emissions from difficult-to-mitigate sources on a large scale, to accelerate the implementation of innovative methane emissions reduction technology solutions.

• Characterizing and quantifying methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations across multiple, large geographical regions through the creation of regional methane emissions measurement and monitoring consortia. Activities may include methane emissions data collection and acquisition; development of annual emissions estimates at equipment, facility, and basin-levels; and training on data and technology usage for workers in the oil and gas industry and communities with environmental justice concerns. The intent would be to develop region-specific collaborative partnerships among oil and natural gas owners and operators, universities, environmental justice organizations, community leaders, workers, technology developers, Tribes, state regulatory agencies, non-governmental research organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and DOE’s National Laboratories.

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