A series of helicopter flyovers in Permian Basin by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continued this week to survey thousands of oil and gas operations. The flyovers will allow EPA to identify emitters of large amounts of methane and excessive emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). EPA regional administrator Earthea Nance said Aug. 1 the Permian region produced large amounts of methane and VOCs over the years, contributing to climate change and poor air quality. EPA will use infrared cameras to detect hydrocarbon emissions, and technicians will record time, GPS location and other information about the source to use to initiate enforcement actions and take corrective action.
Todd Staples, president of Texas Oil and Gas Association, said reducing methane emissions is a top priority for the industry. He said methane emissions intensity in Permian Basin has declined by nearly 70 percent since 2011 thanks to companies’ investment in new technology.
Nance said, “The flyovers are vital to identifying which facilities are responsible for the bulk of these emissions and therefore where reductions are most urgently needed.”