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Draft Wyoming Flaring Rule Sets Lower Threshold Volumes

A draft of a revised flaring rule in Wyoming will be made public on Monday, the state's oil/natural gas supervisor, Mark Watson, told NGI'sShale Daily on Friday.

Oil and gas producers are expecting to be supportive of the changes, but they still want to see the fine print, according to John Robitaille, vice president at the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW) (see Shale DailyNov. 11). "We will really have to see the eventual language to get a feel for what is being proposed," Robitaille said.

Watson reiterated for Shale Daily what he told the Wyoming Oil/Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) last Tuesday that the commission staff has reviewed the state's current flaring rule (Chapter 3, Section 39) and in the process worked with various state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) air quality division, along with oil/gas operators and other stakeholders.

Staff also looked at data compiled from information that operators submit on the gas they flare or vent as part of monthly production reports, Watson said.

The proposed rule attempts to update the current rule by focusing on four areas: data accuracy, reflecting current new well operations, reducing thresholds, and meeting environmental compliance.

The draft requirements would "provide more accurate data by requiring operators to report the disposition of gas not sold or used on lease as flared or vented," Watson said, adding that this would mean operators would provide detailed information on the type of measurement used when reporting the various volume categories.

Current policy for flaring gas from new wells during the first six months of production are reflected in the draft rules, according to Watson. Those limits are 180 days at 250 Mcf/d, but no more than 45 MMcf in total. Operators also are required to provide gas capture plans including information on pipeline availability, locations and capacity, along with downstream gas processing plant locations and capacities.

A new threshold would be set at 30 Mcf/d, cut in half from the current 60 Mcf/d. "This is for safety concerns and requires gas to be flared for volumes greater than 30 Mcf/d," Watson told the WOGCC, which is chaired by Gov. Matt Mead, who supports updating the flaring rules as part of his overall statewide energy strategy initiatives.

"Gas vented or flared at rates of 60 Mcf/d or less is not considered waste and does not require prior approval," Watson said.

Finally, flared or vented gas must be done in compliance with the state DEQ's rules and permitting (Chapter 6, Section 2).

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