March 31, 2024

Bureau Of Land Management Finalizes Rule Methane Drilling Rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a final regulation aimed at reducing methane emissions from drilling operations on public lands by making energy companies pay royalties on “wasted” natural gas. “Wasted” natural gas is the methane that operators either vent into the air, or burn off, rather than capture in a pipeline and sell.

The rule was released only three months after a final rule on methane emissions was released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (Read more about the EPA’s regulation here.)

The BLM rule requires that drillers either commit to capturing 100 percent of the gas they produce or come up with plans to minimize non-emergency venting (the direct release of natural gas) and flaring (the burning of excess natural gas at the production well). It also mandates that operators submit plans to track and repair gas leaks in pipelines and other infrastructure. If found to be in noncompliance, operators could be denied future drilling permits by the BLM. T

he final Waste Prevention Rule goes into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, but the BLM will phase in the new requirements to allow operators plenty of time to appropriately adjust. For example, some flaring limits will go into effect about 60 days after the effective date of the rule while some flare measurements will be required either six, 12, or 18 months after the effective date of the rule. Operators will have 18 months to submit leak detection and repair plans to BLM state offices.

Read more about the rule here.

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