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US Finalizes Rule Limiting Release of Natural Gas at Drilling Sites

© AP Photo / Charles Rex ArbogastDrivers and their tanker trucks, capable of hauling water and fracking liquid line up near a natural gas burn off flame and storage tanks in Williston, N.D.
Drivers and their tanker trucks, capable of hauling water and fracking liquid line up near a natural gas burn off flame and storage tanks in Williston, N.D. - Sputnik International
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The US Department of the Interior announced that energy companies operating on US government owned land will be required to recapture up to 50 percent of the natural gas that escapes during production at oil and gas wells.

Facilities of the Chergui gas field concession of the UK based oil company Petrofac on the island of Kerkennah. (File) - Sputnik International
US Natural Gas Production Forecast for 2016 to Show First Downswing in Decade
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Energy companies operating on US government owned land will be required to recapture up to 50 percent of the natural gas that escapes during production at oil and gas wells, the US Department of the Interior announced in a press release.

"The rule updates 30-year old regulations governing venting, flaring and leaks of natural gas, and will help curb waste of public resources, reduce harmful methane emissions and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, tribes and states," the release stated on Tuesday.

The rule will require oil and gas producers to use currently available technologies and processes to cut flaring in half at oil wells on public and tribal lands.

Natural gas, which primarily consists of methane, is often flared or burnt as a waste product at oil and gas wells.

The press release explained that natural gas lost between 2009 and 2015 was enough to supply more than 6 million households annually.

Methane is also considered a potent greenhouse gas believed responsible for global warming.

The new rule is expected to cut methane emissions by as much as 35 percent, the release noted.

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