In the past several Big 2 Energy Reports, we've been talking about how the President's new plan to lower emissions could end up costing drivers, taxpayers and the oil and gas industry a lot of money. Now, oil and gas companies operating in Texas, could be facing even more restrictions. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has proposed new rules that would give their agency more control as they try to minimize emissions from oil and gas companies.
The agency formally announced their proposal in a press release earlier this week. TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw was quoted saying, "The tremendous expansion of drilling in the Barnett Shale, in and around urban areas, required our agency to take a closer look at the potential impacts and protective measures that could be instituted to protect the public health around these operations."
While the Barnett Shale, which is located around the Fort Worth area, may have prompted the need for these regulations, if passed, they would have an impact on everyone. "They're doing this in response to citizen's concerns and complaints primarily around the Barnett Shale. However, the proposed rules will effect everyone including us here in the Permian Basin. It will be statewide in nature. Essentially, what they're attempting to do is, among other things, is get an inventory of emissions coming from oil and gas locations, " says Vice President Ben Sheppard, PBPA.
According to Sheppard, the main concern is the expense. "These new regulations are going to increase costs and compliance activities. There's no question that change is coming and it's going to increase cost, but the question remaining is we don't know how much. "
Sheppard says the good news is that the TCEQis working closely with the industry before they make things final. TCEQ representatives were actually in Midland a few weeks ago to discuss the matter. Sheppard says they've shown a strong willingness to get input from both sides of the table.
We'll keep you updated as we learn more.