By Stephen W. Wiegand

On August 16, 2012, EPA issued new source performance standards (NSPSs) for the oil and gas sector. The standards applied to various sources including storage tanks used in crude oil and natural gas production. On April 12, 2013, EPA announced proposed amendments to the rule pertaining to storage tanks.

The proposed rule clarifies that the new NSPS standard applies only to vessels containing crude oil, condensate, intermediate hydrocarbon liquids, or produced water (i.e., vessels likely to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs)).

Additionally, EPA explains in the proposed rule that it had initially underestimated the number of tanks that would be impacted by the final rule. Further, based on the agency’s revised estimation, there is currently an insufficient supply of control devices available to meet the October 15, 2013, deadline for compliance. Thus, EPA adjusted the compliance schedule as follows:

  • For tanks constructed after April 12, 2013, the proposed rule extends the deadline for compliance to April 15, 2014, or within sixty days after startup, whichever is later.
  • For tanks constructed prior to April 12, 2013, tank owners have until October 15, 2013 to report that the tank is on line and to provide the tank’s geographic coordinates. Further, if there is a change that would potentially increase the tank’s emissions, the owner or operator must install the required controls within sixty days of the change or by April 15, 2014, whichever is earlier.

The proposed rule also includes streamlined monitoring requirements for tanks that have already installed VOC controls and certain alternative emissions limits. Finally, the rule extends the deadline for submitting annual reports from thirty days to ninety days after the end of the compliance period.

Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by May 13, 2013. EPA anticipates that it will take final action on the proposed rule by July 31, 2013.

For more information, click here