New Mexico Enacts 98 Percent Gas Capture Rule

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Blake C. Jones

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April 2, 2021
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After two years of rulemaking, and more than a year of public comments, on Thursday, March 25, 2021, New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) unanimously approved new regulations on natural gas emissions that require New Mexico operators to capture 98 percent of natural gas emissions by 2026 and prohibit venting or flaring, except in the case of emergencies or equipment failure. 
 
The rules, originally proposed by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division of the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), regulate emissions of methane and other volatile organic compounds and require operators to report natural gas releases throughout the supply chain, including leaks in wells, pipelines, and gathering stations. 
 
The regulations go into effect on April 1, 2022, and require operators to file quarterly reports with state regulators. In 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order, forming the Climate Change Task Force and requiring state agencies to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. The EMNRD rulemaking intends to mitigate ozone pollution caused by oil and gas emissions while also addressing waste from the oil and gas industry. 
 
If you have questions about how these regulations might affect your business, please contact the author of this alert.