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The American Petroleum Institute will support federal regulations for oil and gas industry-generated methane, the industry body said on Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner.
This is in stark contrast to its previous position against federally regulating the greenhouse gas.
Methane is a part of natural gas and is sometimes vented or leaked during the course of its extraction, causing climate concerns that have been growing in recent years.
The API is now reading the room carefully, and is hoping to get a seat at the negotiating table when it comes to the details about how this methane will be regulated.
It has become nearly impossible for the oil and gas industry—and the API—to ignore the growing clamor from climate activists on methane leaks and venting for stricter regulations. With the change in administration, it has tipped the scales from nearly impossible to absolutely impossible.
“This is a new position for API, but we think given where the industry is at this time and the continued importance of reducing methane, it was critical we update this position as the administration changes,” API CEO Mike Sommers told the Washington Examiner.
API’s shift on methane regulations is about as severe as the shift in U.S. President from Trump to Biden, and the oil and gas industry is likely to see more such shifts courtesy of the regime change.
Somewhat surprisingly, not everyone in the oil and gas industry is resistant to federal regulations. Some of the more prominent oil and gas players—with deeper pockets—have supported tighter methane regulations as a way to clean up their image in a world that is gearing up for greener practices.
But smaller oil and gas players will have a more challenging time coping with the high price tag of increased regulations.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.
But as a prestigious Institute it must have known all along how damaging to the environment methane leaks and venting could be. Still, it initially said that it will fight against regulating the greenhouse gas.
The API has now changed its position on methane leaks claiming it has become nearly impossible to ignore the growing clamour for stricter regulations. But this very information was available to it even before President Trump relaxed the regulations on methane emissions and still it went along with his policies.
The API only reversed its position because it it had no alternative in view of President Biden's declared intention to tighten the methane regulations. This is bound to tarnish the scientific integrity and objectivity of the API.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London