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Ohio Considering General Permits For Oil/Gas Pipeline Compressor Stations

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) said Tuesday it is considering allowing general permits for pipeline compressor stations and opening a pre-comment period to gauge interest among stakeholders.

Currently, the facilities must meet the state's air emission standards with case-by-case permits for different equipment. A general permit would fast-track that process with more efficient and timely processing of a template that applies to common pieces of equipment at the facilities.

Under the proposal, applicants would be required to demonstrate that such equipment qualifies for a general permit and agree to meet defined permit terms regarding installation, operating requirements, monitoring, record-keeping and reporting.

Compressor stations help move natural gas through a pipeline, but they also sometimes have equipment that removes natural gas liquids and water from the gas before it is pumped. OEPA has released a draft general permit that would cover typical equipment including, but not limited to, natural gas-fired and diesel engines, dehydrators, flares and liquid storage tanks.

Interested parties can review the general permit drafts at http://epa.ohio.gov/dapc/genpermit/permitsec.aspx. The pre-comment period ends Sept. 18. After the agency reviews the feedback and makes revisions to the draft, it said it would open a formal 30-day comment period ahead of its final decision.

With the rise in oil and gas production in the state, OEPA acknowledged that the midstream sector has rapidly expanded as well. Its consideration of general permits for compressor stations comes after years of similar regulatory changes for other parts of the industry. It began drafting general permits for the upstream sector in 2011 (see Shale Daily, Aug. 29, 2011). Last year, it rolled out more stringent air emissions criteria for shale producers seeking a general permit (see Shale Daily, April 4, 2014).

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