The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued updates to its April 2012 oil and natural gas standards for storage tanks. They phase in deadlines for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions, starting with higher-emitting tanks first.
- Tanks that come online after April 12, 2013, are likely to have higher emissions and must control VOC emissions within 60 days or by April 15, 2014, whichever is later
- Tanks that came online before April 12, 2013, are likely to have lower emissions and must control VOC emissions by April 15, 2015.
The updated standards also establish an alternative emissions limit that would allow owners/operators to remove controls from tanks if they can demonstrate that the tanks emit less than 4 tons per year of VOC emissions without controls. In addition, the rule streamlines compliance and monitoring requirements for tanks that have already installed controls.
EPA says it is making these rule changes based on information received after the 2012 standards were issued that shows more storage tanks will come online than it originally estimated.
The oil and natural gas industry uses tanks for temporary storage of crude oil, condensate, and other liquids, before they are moved to a pipeline, sold, or moved for disposal. These storage tanks can be sources of emissions of VOCs, along with several toxic air pollutants, including benzene and hexane. Today’s final action does not affect the April 2012 standards for capturing natural gas from hydraulically fractured wells.
See http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html for more.