Analysis Group Team Models Cost Effectiveness of Methane Emission Reduction Technologies
June 8, 2022
In November 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new regulations to reduce methane emissions resulting from the production, processing, and transportation of oil and natural gas. The EPA proposed several categories of technologies capable of producing significant methane emission reductions at a reasonable cost. In a report prepared at the request of the Environmental Defense Fund, an Analysis Group team led by Principal Paul Hibbard modeled the electricity and abatement costs associated with one such category – zero-emitting technologies for pneumatic controllers and pumps – at sites covered by the EPA’s rule.
The team analyzed a number of variables related to the specific technology (electric controllers and pumps, electric air compressors, or a combination), power source (on-site solar/battery systems or the grid), and site size. Among other findings, the report concludes that technologies to achieve significant methane emission reductions are available for a wide range of power-generation scenarios, and that the magnitude of costs incurred by implementing these technologies is vastly exceeded by the estimated benefits from the resulting reductions.
“In short,” the authors write, “for the vast majority of oil and natural gas sites in the U.S., the cost of electricity to operate zero-emission pneumatic controllers and pumps should not be a deterrent to establishing these technologies as cost-effective approaches to reducing methane emissions at such locations.”