State Regulators Set To Finalize Oil And Gas Rules

Feb 22, 2014

Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission is considering rules that would set limits for emissions and require more extensive efforts to monitor and fix leaks.

A day-long hearing Saturday caps off four days of public testimony that have been largely drama-free. The proposal has won praise from both environmental groups and the industry.

Although not all drillers support it, three of the largest operators in Colorado -- Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy, and Encana – have signed onto the plan.

Steve Lynn, who covers energy for the Northern Colorado Business Report, says that could be partly to burnish the industry’s image in the wake of recent backlash. But -- he adds there could also be a profit motive, too.

"One of the main focuses of these regulations is methane emissions," Lynn says. "And methane is, of course, a component of natural gas. So the more methane they can capture, the more natural gas they can sell."

Lynn expects the Commission will adopt the rules – although some environmental groups worry the plan could be watered down. The rules would be the nation's first statewide methane-emissions standard for energy producers.

The final hearing is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.