New US rules seek to curb leaks from oil and gas drilling on public lands

By Thomson Reuters Mar 27, 2024 | 3:31 PM

(Reuters) – The U.S. interior department on Wednesday said it had finalized rules aimed at limiting methane leaks from oil and gas drilling on public lands.

The policy complements efforts the Biden administration has made at other agencies to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that tends to leak from drill sites and pipelines.

Nearly a tenth of U.S. oil and gas production takes place on federal lands, primarily in Western states like New Mexico and Wyoming.

The interior department said the rule would conserve billions of cubic feet of gas that otherwise might have been vented, flared or leaked, generating more than $50 million in additional royalty payments to the federal government each year.

“This final rule, which updates 40-year-old regulations, furthers the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to prevent waste, protect our environment, and ensure a fair return to American taxpayers,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Costas Pitas)