Recently, global climate change and air quality have become increasingly important environmental concerns. Consequently, there has been a rise in collaborative international efforts to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), occuring naturally and as the result of human activity. Criteria pollutants include emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and total unburned hydrocarbons. International and national governments are implementing more regulations on air emissions.
A prime objective in all drilling operations is to minimize safety and environmental risks, while maintaining drilling performance. The health, safety, and environmental (HSE) policies of many companies are more stringent than those required by national governments and the various agencies charged with overseeing drilling operations. All personnel who take part in the well-construction process must comply with these standards to ensure their own safety and that of others. On most locations, a "zero-tolerance" policy is in effect concerning behaviors that might endanger workers, the environment, or the safe progress of the operation. Additionally, all personnel are encouraged to report potentially hazardous activities or circumstances through a variety of observational safety programs.
The House voted 218–195 to strip funding for an Obama-era EPA effort to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas drilling sites. A federal appeals court is letting the Trump administration put on hold an Environmental Protection Agency methane pollution rule for oil and natural gas drilling. Public interest groups and local stakeholders at a public hearing on 10 July urged the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to enforce methane regulations. The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on 7 July to allow it to delay enforcement of an Obama administration rule to limit methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling. A federal appeals court in Washington ruled on 3 July that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped his authority in trying to delay implementation of an Obama administration rule requiring oil and gas companies to monitor and reduce methane leaks.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget detailed when and how agencies plan to repeal numerous Obama administration rules regarding air and water pollution, fossil fuel extraction, and more. A federal appeals court is letting the Trump administration put on hold an Environmental Protection Agency methane pollution rule for oil and natural gas drilling. The Trump administration asked a federal appeals court on 7 July to allow it to delay enforcement of an Obama administration rule to limit methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling. A federal appeals court in Washington ruled on 3 July that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped his authority in trying to delay implementation of an Obama administration rule requiring oil and gas companies to monitor and reduce methane leaks. In the 4 months since he took office as the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt has moved to undo, delay, or otherwise block more than 30 environmental rules.
The New Owner Clean Air Act Audit Program, tailored specifically for oil and natural gas producers, will focus on offering more flexibility to new company owners who choose to self-audit their emissions and report any failures to meet EPA’s regulations. Proposed changes would modify EPA's August 2016 final rule, "Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources." The proposal has been submitted for publication to the Federal Register. Following that publication, the EPA will accept comments for 60 days. With concern growing that the underlying geology in the Permian Basin is reaching capacity for disposal wells, the Trump administration is examining whether to adjust decades-old federal clean-water regulations to allow drillers to discharge waste water directly into rivers and streams.
State health officials say they will review whether exemptions for the fossil fuels industry violates the Clean Air Act. Colorado lawmakers approved a bill overhauling regulations governing the state’s robust oil and gas industry to prioritize public health and safety, over opposition by Republicans and industry groups. Oregon has permanently banned offshore drilling in the midst of a federal push to open 90% of federal waters to oil exploration. A federal judge in Alaska has ruled an executive order by President Donald Trump allowing offshore oil drilling of tens of millions of acres in the Arctic Ocean is "unlawful and invalid." The US Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue a rule regulating methane emissions later this year, administrator Andrew Wheeler said.
Three scientists say groundwater pollution in Pavillion, Wyoming, is likely caused by gas seeping from inadequately lined gas wells, a porous geology, and the dumping over years of up to 880,000 gallons of chemical effluent into 40 unlined pits. The two likely sources of pollution—contamination that includes methane gas and other petrochemicals—have affected the Wind River Formation drinking aquifer to the point that it is unlikely ever to be cleaned up, one scientist said. The three made their cases at a forum sponsored by the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Riverton, Wyoming, on 18 Octover. The tainted water affects homes and ranches in the 12-square-mile Pavillion gas field where about 169 gas wells were drilled. Activity that started in the 1950s increased in density and rate starting in 2000.
Emissions are in the air and in the headlines every day. Whether the discussion is on human health impacts of pollution, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their impact on climate change, or the misleading performance of a diesel engine, the bottom line is there is a global focus on emissions. Emission discussions are also in the forefront of the oil and gas industry. In 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated new emission rules for our industry dealing with volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and, most recently, methane. On 18 August, the agency proposed additional measures (EPA 2015) that supplement the earlier regulations and that "together will help combat climate change, reduce air pollution that harms public health, and provide greater certainty about Clean Air Act permitting requirements for the oil and natural gas industry."
Ghana's fishers and coastal communities have raised concerns over the effects of offshore oil exploration and production relating to the giant Jubilee field. In 2014, the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency initiated an independent study of marine conditions as a key step forward, with the endorsement of the Ministry of Fisheries. The study included extensive participation from fishing groups, oil companies, government officials, nongovernmental organizations, and other interested parties, and produced a number of recommendations. This paper describes the process and results of the multistakeholder approach to solving marine-zone conflicts. Following the discovery of the Jubilee field in 2007, the rapid development and launch of the offshore commercial oil production have attracted major oil and gas companies, with huge capital injection into the national economy as well as related sorely needed social investments and developments in communities of the Western Region and other sectors.