Writing in RealClear Energy, Guy Caruso, a former administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration and a Center for Strategic and International Studies senior adviser, outlined the current administration’s impractical approach to methane reduction. This summer, as part of the White House’s inaugural “Methane Summit,” a ‘cabinet-level’ Methane Task Force was created to accelerate the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan. The issue with the first-ever Methane Summit? Oil and gas industry stakeholders were reportedly not invited.
Working with the oil and gas industry has been, and will continue to be, crucial for reducing methane emissions. Caruso says, “Not only are America’s oil and gas producers the ones square in the crosshairs of the Biden administration’s methane schemes, they are also the men and women actually leading the charge to reduce emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas.” In fact, oil and gas producers have worked hard to decrease emissions, driving down greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent in 2019 and 30 percent in 2021. Though these stakeholders are at the forefront of this issue, working to optimize production while deploying new technologies, the EPA has proposed a one-size-fits-all approach to regulate methane identification and mitigation.
Caruso argues that the “rule risks stopping investment in proven methane approaches and could force producers to adopt practices that are poor fits.” The EPA’s proposal would require the use of Optical Gas Imaging (OGI), a powerful tool for detecting methane leaks. While OGI is commonly used, mandating its usage as the sole technology for oil and gas producers is not the correct approach to regulating detection methods, as it may not always be the best—or most economical—choice for producers in their respective environment. Similarly, the technology requires a skilled operator, which can render the efficacy completely reliant on the abilities of the surveyor.
Instead of force a one-size-fits-all approach, Caruso argues the EPA should “pivot to a technology-neutral, flexible approach that creates the best chance for making critical gains in methane reduction and, thus, [advances] America’s ambitious plans to do its fair share on climate.” Mandating one technology will stagnate innovation in a field ripe for advancements.
Read Guy Caruso’s full piece here: Always Cutting Methane, Oil and Gas Must Sit at President Biden’s Climate Table