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Abstract: EPA'S Natural Gas STAR Program: Using A Voluntary Approach to Reduce Oil and Natural Gas Emissions

RESCH, RHONE A.

In 1992, in response to global concern on greenhouse gases emissions, the U.S. developed the first Climate Change Action Plan. A section of the plan is dedicated to the reduction of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and required EPA to create the Natural Gas STAR Program. The Natural Gas STAR Program is a cooperative, voluntary program between the Natural Gas Industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement pollution prevention techniques in a cost effective manner. The program uses market forces to save industry money while achieving the objectives of the Climate Change Action Plan. The initial program focused on transmission and distribution companies, and in the first full year of the program (1993) methane emissions were reduced by 1,340,000 Mcf. In 1995 EPA expanded the program to include the production sector of the industry. Through 1995, partners have reduced emissions by over 17,000,000 Mcf, worth over $34,000,000.

This presentation describes the development of the Natural Gas STAR Program, including sources of emissions, cost-effective solutions, and program benefits. Specifically, in the production sector the replacement of high-bleed pneumatics with low or no-bleed devices, adding flash tank separators to dehydrators, and installing Vapor Recovery Units on tank batteries are cost-effective methods that reduce emissions. The presentation will provide an overview of the program, discuss the results of the first two years of the Producer Program, identify actual emissions reductions achieved for each of the BMPs and discuss the use of additional voluntary programs to address environmental issues.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90939©1997 AAPG Eastern Section and TSOP, Lexington, Kentucky