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INGAA wants flexibility on greenhouse gas monitoring.

INGAA is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clarify greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rules for 2011. Companies had to monitor greenhouse gas emissions from compressor combustion in 2010, and report emissions over 25,000 tons as of March 31, 2011. For year 2011, pipelines will have to monitor fugitive and vented emissions as well from centrifugal compressor venting, reciprocating compressor rod packing venting and a few other less significant sources. Combustion measurements were fairly easy; monitoring fugitive and vented emissions, mostly of methane, will be much more difficult because measurement has to be done directly, by a worker, which in many cases, particularly with regard to blow down vents, can pose serious safety threats because of the difficulty of getting to those vents.

That explains the petitions the INGAA filed in late January, one to the EPA and the other to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC. The very similar petitions request that the EPA allow transmission pipelines to use best alternative monitoring methods (BAMM) to compute GHG emissions. BAMM allows pipelines to measure fugitive and vented emissions without a company having to re-engineer a compressor station to make access to a blow down vent, for example, safe for a worker..

The oil and gas industry GHG reporting rule the EPA issued last year basically allows use of BAMM up until June 30,2011. After that date, companies have to use very specific monitoring technologies dictated by the EPA. Companies could use BAMM after June 30 until the end of 2011, but only if the EPA approves an application in which the company proves extreme circumstances, which includes safety concerns. If companies want to use BAMM in 2012 and beyond, they would have to prove extreme and unique circumstances.

by Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor
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Title Annotation:WASHINGTONwatch
Author:Barlas, Stephen
Publication:Underground Construction
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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