Changes to Oil and Gas General Operating Permits in Texas
Posted: October 12th, 2020Authors: All4 Staff
Big changes are coming for oil and gas general operating permits (GOPs) in Texas – are you ready for them? Will these changes apply to your site? Don’t wait around until it’s too late; you only have until January 13, 2021 to review your GOP and submit an authorization to operate (ATO) application to revise it. This article will provide you a high-level overview on the changes and help you plan the next steps for compliance at your site.
In Texas, a GOP is a type of Federal Operating Permit (FOP) that has a streamlined application and permitting process for sources of air emissions. GOPs can only be used by sites which have similar operations, emissions units, and applicable regulations. There are four GOPs (511, 512, 513, and 514) which cover upstream and midstream oil and gas sites, each with different requirements based on the county in which the site operates. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has proposed changes to these GOPs which are scheduled to become effective on October 15, 2020. Affected oil and gas sites will need to submit a revision to their GOPs via ATO applications to TCEQ after October 15, 2020 and no later than January 13, 2021.
The biggest change to the oil and gas GOPs is the addition of multiple permitting tables, which list the requirements for specific unit. For example, TCEQ will be adding permitting tables for 40 CFR Part 60, Subparts OOOO and OOOOa (Standards of Performance for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Facilities) to oil and gas GOPs if the proposed changes are finalized. Sites with storage vessels, gas sweetening units, wells, and fugitive emissions that are subject to these two Federal regulations will be affected. Additionally, a permitting table will be required for process heaters subject to 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart DDDDD (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters).
A new periodic monitoring option is available for acid gas only flares that are subject to opacity emissions limits as stated in 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §111.111(a)(4). This monitoring option requires quarterly visible emissions observations. Opacity and visible emissions monitoring are similar to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Reference Test Methods 9 and 22, respectively. This option will be added to the periodic monitoring option tables as PMG-OG-PM-001 and provides sites another monitoring option to streamline their application.
For GOPs 511 and 512, surface coating permitting tables will be added. This change will affect oil and gas sites subject to 30 TAC Chapter 115, Subchapter E, Division 2 in Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso, and Houston-Galveston-Brazoria areas and in Gregg, Nueces, and Victoria Counties. The main units that will be affected are storage tanks, but other units such as engines may be affected as well.
These are the main changes for GOPs. Additional changes such as the removal of certain regulatory references, index number changes, and administrative changes have also been proposed by TCEQ. The proposed changes for each GOP can be found on TCEQ’s Title V Operating Permits Announcements page, here.
What do I need to do?
Once the changes to the GOPs become effective on October 15, 2020, each affected site must revise their GOPs by submitting an ATO application. Affected sites may continue operations before a new ATO is granted if the permit holder meets the following requirements as per guidance from the TCEQ:
- The permit holder complies with 30 TAC Chapter 116, all applicable requirements, all state-only requirements, and provisional terms and conditions.
- The permit holder maintains, with the authorization to operate under the general operating permit, the application until a new authorization to operate is granted.
- The permit holder operates under the representations in the general operating permit application.
The January 13, 2021 deadline is quickly approaching and does not allow a lot of time for site to submit GOP revisions. Thus, ALL4 is here to help and alleviate some stresses that this tight deadline might cause you, or your site.
Be on the lookout for TCEQ’s official announcement of the effective date of the GOP revisions on this page. If you have any questions regarding this blog or about changes to oil and gas GOPs, contact us.