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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Jul 10, 2013 1:50 PM Flag

    Texas regulators begin aerial surveys of oil and gas facilities

    Texas regulators begin aerial surveys of oil and gas facilities

    July 10, 2013 at 10:42 am by Jeannie Kever

    Several weeks into an assessment of air quality at oil and gas production facilities in South and West Texas, officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality say it’s too soon to say whether the survey will lead to action against companies working there.

    No citations will be issued based on the fly-over monitoring, said Keith Sheedy, technical advisor in the commission’s office of air. But the monitoring, which is scheduled to continue through mid-August, could prompt the commission to send field inspectors to production facilities for follow-up, he said.

    Producers, meanwhile, said they are ready for the heightened scrutiny.

    “It’s the world we live in today,” said Alex Mills, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. “It’s a changing world. With the federal regulatory arena we’ve been in since 2009, it’s created a lot more regulations, more paperwork, more compliance. People in the oil and gas business in Texas have to be on their toes.”

    The monitoring will cover 22 counties and will use a helicopter equipped with an infrared camera to take video images of volatile organic compounds and other hydrocarbons. Volatile organic compounds can combine with nitrogen oxides to form ozone.

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    The camera doesn’t quantify how much of the compounds are present, Sheedy said, but simply alerts the commission staff to their presence. Using the helicopter allows the monitoring to covering more ground.

    When the monitoring is completed, he said the agency will began to assess which companies are working in areas where emissions were reported and send inspectors for follow-up.

    The targeted counties include Andrews, Atascosa, Bee, Crockett, De Witt, Dimmit, Ector, Gaines, Howard, Irion, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, Martin, McMullen, Midland, Reagan, Reeves, Upton, Ward, Webb and Winkler.

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