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Texas Oil and Gas Industry Challenges White House Over Methane Regulation

The Texas Railroad Commission, responsible for regulating the state’s oil and gas industry, has taken a confrontational stance against the Biden Administration’s methane rule. This regulation, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December, specifically addresses methane emissions in the oil and gas production process. Seeking legal action, the commission has urged the Texas attorney general to sue the administration.

This move comes on the heels of another action by Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian, who recently penned a letter to President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, expressing dissatisfaction with the Administration’s temporary halt on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project permits. Christian criticized the pause, asserting that it could jeopardize lives in Europe, emphasizing the crucial role of Texas natural gas in global energy security.

Upon the introduction of the methane rule in December, concerns emerged among small U.S. oil and gas producers, fearing potential well closures and business shutdowns. The EPA justified the rule by highlighting the oil and gas industry as the nation’s primary industrial source of methane emissions, a significant contributor to environmental pollution.

While smaller industry players expressed apprehension about the rule’s financial implications, major oil and gas corporations, including BP, welcomed the initiative. These larger entities commended the Administration for achieving what they deemed an “important milestone” in environmental regulation.

The methane rule is slated to take effect in five years, requiring substantial investments from oil and gas companies for monitoring methane leaks at various sites, including well sites and compressor stations. The financial burden associated with compliance may pose a significant challenge for smaller players, raising concerns about their ability to adapt to the ambitious regulatory framework.