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  • Allison Stalker

Updated Standards for Oil and Gas Storage Tanks

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated the standards for oil and natural gas storage tanks. The updates were made to the 2012 performance standards for oil and natural gas. The updates create emission control deadlines, focusing first on higher-emitting tanks. According to the EPA, the changes are being made “based on information received after the 2012 standards were issued that shows more storage tanks will come online than the agency originally estimated”.

Storage tanks used in oil or natural gas production and transmission that have the potential to emit 6 tons or more per year of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will be affected by the update.

These tanks will be required to reduce emission of VOCs by 95%. The deadline for this reduction varies as follows:

  • tanks that come online after April 12, 2013 are likely to have higher emissions and must control VOC emissions within 60 days or by April 15, 2014, whichever is later; and

  • tanks that came online before April 12, 2013 are likely to have lower emissions and must control VOC emissions by April 15, 2015.

The update also includes an alternative to the emission reduction. If owners/operators can demonstrate that their tanks will emit less than 4 tons per year of VOCs without controls, the controls can be removed.

The update comes as a response to a number of petitions received by the EPA after the 2012 standards were released. The tanks emit ozone-forming VOCs and other air toxics.

According to the EPA, exposure to ozone is linked to “aggravated asthma, reduced lung function and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, in addition to increased risk of premature death from heart or lung disease”.

For more information on the update and the original rule, click here.

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