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3 Actions You Need to Know About 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOO

Posted: March 18th, 2015

Authors: JP K. 

If you are the owner or operator of one or more 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOO (Standards of Performance for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production, Transmission and Distribution) affected facilities, you need to know about the three (3) actions listed below.

Action 1:

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued notice of its use of “enforcement discretion” regarding two or more storage vessels connected in parallel. This action was announced via a general email message dated March 10, 2015

The December 31, 2014 amendments to Subpart OOOO added the following language to the definition of storage vessel.

“Two or more storage vessels connected in parallel are considered equivalent to a single storage vessel with throughput equal to the total throughput of the storage vessels connected in parallel.”

TCEQ’s interpretation is that the “applicability, emissions, and control determinations conducted prior to December 31, 2014 for storage vessels connected in parallel may need to be reevaluated” as a result of this language change.

TCEQ stated that it has chosen to exercise its enforcement discretion for storage vessels, which will expire April 15, 2016, allowing operators time to reevaluate emissions and applicability. The enforcement discretion does NOT apply to storage vessels constructed, modified, or reconstructed after December 31, 2014.

Action 2:

U.S. EPA will re-propose the definition of “low pressure gas well”. This action can be found at the following link: U.S. EPA’s Actions Initiated by Month

U.S. EPA acknowledged that they overlooked one public comment concerning the definition of “low pressure gas well” that was received during the July 17, 2014 Proposed Rule comment period. This re-proposal will solicit comment on the commenter’s alternative definition of “low pressure gas well”.

Action 3:

U.S. EPA announced its strategy for reducing methane and ozone-forming pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry. This action can be found at the following link: U.S. EPA’s Methane Strategy

U.S. EPA plans to revise Subpart OOOO to achieve both methane reductions and additional VOC reductions. Furthermore, U.S. EPA plans to develop new standards for methane and VOC for new and modified oil and gas sources at well sites and compressor stations.

Looking Ahead

As G.I. Joe would say “Now you know! And knowing is half the battle.” Here are some action items to consider for the other half of the battle:

• Do you have storage vessels operated in parallel?

o Has your state environmental agency issued similar enforcement discretion for storage vessels already in service?

• What is the current definition of “low pressure gas well” and what was the commenter’s alternative definition of “low pressure gas well”?

o Could the definition change potentially impact (positively/negatively) your operations?

• How do you plan to monitor developments in EPA’s methane strategy, have your voice heard, and evaluate potential impacts of these changes?

Affected facilities should already have a general understanding regarding how these actions will potentially impact their operations and should be actively engaged in monitoring developments and planning for compliance. Please contact JP Kleinle (610) 933-5246, extension 120 or at jkleinle@all4inc.com to discuss the content of this blog or any other oil and gas related topics.


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