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Energy Efficiency Criteria Coming for Compressors

U.S. Energy Department program directed at pipeline leaks


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The U.S. Department of Energy plans to establish energy efficiency standards for new natural gas compressors as part of a program to reduce methane leaks from natural gas pipelines.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “Reducing these methane leaks can help consumers and industry save money, create jobs, modernize our energy infrastructure and protect our environment.”

Moniz urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to seek ways to ensure that gas pipeline companies can recover the expenses of replacing leak-prone pipelines, upgrade inefficient compressors and make other retrofits.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been considering options for controlling reciprocating compressor emissions by periodic replacement of rod packings and improved vapor recovery units (see the July 2014 COMPRESSORtech2, p. 12). A recent report by EPA’s inspector general said the agency’s voluntary programs have failed to reduce pipeline leaks.

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) said pipeline companies have reduced leaks 94% over the past 30 years through improved maintenance programs and investments in new facilities.

It is developing industry guidelines for directed inspection and maintenance (DI&M) of gas pipeline facilities. INGAA said although most of its member pipeline companies use DI&M, the guidelines will improve consistency and uniformity.

 

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