2016 NSPS Updates (40 CFR Part 60):
- Owners/operators of hydraulically fractured oil wells will be required to capture the natural gas that escapes into the air during “flowback.”
- The rule requires well completions to use a process known as a “reduced emissions completion” or “green completion.”
- A green completion uses special equipment that separates gas and liquid hydrocarbons for the flowback.
- Owners/operators are required to have a separator on site during the entire well completion process for development wells.
- Owners/Operators will have six months after the rule is published in the Federal Register to begin using green completions.
- They also must reduce methane and VOC emissions using combustion controls until the green completion requirement takes effect.
- The following oil wells are exempt from the separator requirement: new exploratory (wildcat) wells, delineation wells (used to define the borders of a reservoir), or low-pressure wells. These wells, however, are still subject to the emission controls requirement.
- Emission reductions from wells with a gas-to-oil ratio of less than 300 scf of gas per barrel are exempt from emission reductions.
- Owners/operators must maintain records of the low gas-to-oil ratio certification and a claim signed by a certifying official.
- Green completions are not required for hydraulically fractured oil wells if it is not technically feasible to get the gas to a pipeline.
- These operations generally reduce emissions using combustion during the well-completion process.
- Finding and repairing leaks (fugitive emissions) for oil wells has the same requirements as natural gas wells from the previous published one-pager.
- Pneumatic pump requirements for oil wells are the same for natural gas wells from the previous published one-pager.
For more information and guidance on your specific air permitting and compliance needs, contact: