Reed Smith Client Alerts

The California Air Resources Board has approved a new stringent regulation to curb methane emissions from oil and gas operations in California. The unprecedented regulation focuses on monitoring, detecting, and repairing methane leaks. The new regulation will be phased in between 2018 and 2020. Industries impacted by this new regulation should begin planning now for infrastructure upgrades and modifications over the coming years.

In this Client Alert, we explain the background and application of the new regulation and briefly describe its key features.

Authors: Todd O. Maiden

On March 23, 2017, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) unanimously approved a new methane regulation that will be phased in between 2018 and 2020. CARB coins the new regulation as “the most comprehensive of its kind in the country.” The new regulation aims to reduce methane leaks / emissions from oil and gas operations in California by an amount equivalent to 1.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. According to CARB, the oil and gas industry is responsible for about 15 percent of the state’s methane’s emissions. CARB indicates that the new regulation will take California one step closer to meeting its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Application of the New Regulation

The new regulation applies to the following industry sectors:

  • Onshore and offshore crude oil or natural gas production
  • Crude oil, condensate, and produced water separation and storage
  • Natural gas underground storage
  • Natural gas gathering and boosting stations
  • Natural gas processing plants
  • Natural gas transmission compressor stations