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Colorado Drillers Throw Weight Behind Ozone Reduction

Colorado rig

Oil and gas drillers in Colorado will tweak their drilling and completion schedules for the summer as a way of supporting the state’s efforts to reduce ozone emissions, which seasonally grow during the summer.

The Denver Post quotes the president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association as saying the efforts of the COGA were aimed at reducing the likelihood of the state’s Front Range area receiving a “serious” ozone nonattainment area status.

“A serious designation would be bad for business in Colorado and interrupt the progress the state is already making toward cleaner air, so while we can’t do it alone, we want to do our part,” Dan Haley said.

A serious ozone nonattainment area status would not just be bad for people’s health as it signals poorer air quality. It would also be bad for the state financially: a “serious” designation results in cuts to federal transportation allocations and closer supervision from the Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to updating drilling and completion schedules, Colorado oil and gas producers will also change the times at which they fuel vehicles on days where pollution is higher and will cut the number of vehicles on the roads. Some operational activities and tank unloadings will be delayed on such days, and they will conduct aerial surveys to identify and plug leaks.

Related: The Oil Trader Tug-Of-War

Meanwhile, the EPA last month initiated a review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone as it is required to do under the Clean Air Act. Some observers noted that the review may result in a relaxation of the standards.

A report on the start of the review noted that some states, including Colorado, will be keeping a close eye on the review progress: the state has not yet been able to meet NAAQS requirements set out in 2008 and has until July 2018 to do so. This is likely one of the reasons why the oil and gas industry has decided to take a more active part in lowering pollution levels in the state.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Douglas on June 06 2018 said:
    I do not think that you are taking into account the costs, both financially and in pollution generated, for ethanol production prior to blending with gasoline or the relative inefficiency between unblended and blended fuels. ow much pollution is associated with the production and blending of ethanol and how much pollution is generated by less miles per gallon? This must all be taken into account.
  • Tom on June 05 2018 said:
    Allowing year-round sales of E-15 ethanol / gasoline blends would be another very good way to reduce Colorado's Air Pollution and Ozone Emissions this summer. E-15 has a slightly LOWER Reid Vapor Pressure than E-10, which E-15 basically replaces. E-15 ethanol fuel blends burn cleaner than E-10 and the "no ethanol" gasoline fuels, reducing harmful particulate emissions. E-15 is usually sold at a lower price than E-10, and offers an higher Mid-Grade Octane. Something that would be very useful in Colorado's low octane environment. Stations that sell E-15 are usually very successful at it, as it generally becomes the preferred fuel grade. It truly is, "A Better Fuel, at A Better Price". So if the Drilling Industry in Colorado really wants to help clean up Colorado's air, perhaps they should tell the API to stop fighting the year-round sale of E-15, as they have vowed to do, "anyway they can". Perhaps the State of Colorado should also apply to the EPA for a Waiver to allow the sale of E-15 gasoline blends year round.

    Its all about the Air We Breathe.

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