In a brewing conflict, the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s regulatory authority for the oil and gas industry, has urged the Texas attorney general to initiate legal action against the Biden Administration over its recent regulation aimed at reducing emissions within the oil and gas sector. The rule, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December, specifically targets methane emissions associated with oil and gas production. This move comes shortly after Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian criticized the Administration for its halt on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project permits in a letter to President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
Christian emphasized the global significance of Texas natural gas, stating that it plays a crucial role in saving the free world, and expressed concern that the Administration’s pause on LNG export projects could pose a threat to European lives.
The methane rule introduced by the Biden Administration in December raised apprehensions among small U.S. oil and gas producers who feared potential well shutdowns and business closures. The EPA countered these concerns by asserting that the oil and gas industry represents the largest industrial source of the “super pollutant” methane.
While smaller players in the oil and gas sector worried about the potential financial strain imposed by the new regulation, major industry players like BP welcomed the initiative, going as far as congratulating the Administration for achieving what they deemed an “important milestone.”
Scheduled to be implemented over a five-year period, the new regulation mandates substantial investments from oil and gas companies to monitor and control methane leaks, particularly at well sites and compressor stations. The financial burden associated with compliance may pose challenges for smaller oil and gas enterprises, raising doubts about their ability to sustain operations under the demands of this ambitious regulatory framework.