"To do what, exactly?" wrote Everley in an email. "Arbitrarily imposing new taxes and redundant regulations on responsible shale development would directly undermine that achievement, and quite likely reverse it."
Voluntary methane program could play a role
Everley, as well as a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, has said that the industry has made significant technology upgrades to reduce leakage as production rises. According to a 2011 report from EPA, methane emissions from natural gas systems have declined since 2005.
Natural Gas STAR, a voluntary emissions program at EPA, could also play an important role creating a bridge to industry, said Bradbury. It could be expanded and given better resources and could act as a clearinghouse and database for natural gas companies. Awards and public recognition, such as via EPA's Energy STAR program, could also create incentives.
But Natural Gas STAR may not be the industry's preferred venue. Devon Energy Corp., a major producer, recently quit the program over concerns that the agency was miscalculating data in order to justify regulations (Greenwire, March 11).
Finally, said Bradbury, the financial benefits for implementing green completions often fall disproportionately on the production company, and processors down the line gain less from their investments.
"We need to take a hard look at the cost structure of this," he said.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500