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EPA Finalizes Changes to Air Regulation Affecting Oil and Gas Storage Vessels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the pre-publication version of its final revisions to the New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector (i.e., 40 CFR 60, Subpart OOOO).  EPA made significant changes to the provisions affecting “storage vessels,” including storage tanks, used in oil or natural gas production and transmission.  In general, an individual storage tank is subject to the rule if it has the potential to emit six or more tons per year of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  According to EPA, “storage tanks subject to the rule may be located anywhere along the oil and natural gas production and transmission process,” which, for natural gas, “extends from the natural gas well to the point where gas enters the distribution system.”

The proposal to revise Subpart OOOO was first published in the Federal Register in April 2013.  EPA revised Subpart OOOO in response to several petitions for reconsideration of the final rule issued in 2012.  EPA has acknowledged that a far greater number of storage vessels come online each year than the agency originally anticipated.  On that basis, EPA has delayed the compliance deadline for some storage vessels.  The effective date of the final revisions will be identified upon publication in the Federal Register.