Oil and gas drillers are asking the EPA to exempt low-producing wells from a supplemental proposal to its 2021 rule cracking down on methane pollution from oil and gas drilling operations. So-called “marginal wells” extracting less than 15 barrels of oil per day are responsible for nearly half of U.S. oil and gas methane pollution despite making up just 6% of oil extraction.

The Independent Petroleum Association of America and a coalition of related industry groups want EPA to exempt wells producing less than 6 barrels per day — more than 80% of marginal wells — from the rule’s leak detection and mitigation requirements. “The fact that [studies from DOE and EDF] show that half of the problem comes from these wells shows that you can’t leave half of the pie on the table,” Jon Goldstein, head of EDF’s oil and gas regulations efforts, told Reuters. The supplemental rule, expected to be released during COP27, could also address flaring by drilling operations. (Reuters)