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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.
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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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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
Its all about the Air We Breathe.