04/23/2024 - Methane Regulation

Bureau of Land Management Issues Rule to Reduce Wasted Gas from Oil and Gas Operations

by Sara Dewey

On March 27, 2024, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a final rule to reduce the waste of natural gas from oil and gas operations on federal and Tribal land. The rule requires operators on federal and Tribal lands to take steps to reduce natural gas waste, develop leak detection and repair plans, and pay royalties on certain natural gas losses. The final rule is based on BLM’s statutory authority and reflects public comments on the proposed rule. It replaces the 40-year-old rule (NTL-4A), is effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and its requirements will phase in over 18 months.

This final rule comes as oil and gas operators are preparing to comply with EPA’s methane regulations for the oil and gas sector and the Inflation Reduction Act’s methane Waste Emission Charge. Many operators on federal and Tribal lands will need to comply with both EPA and BLM regulations.

In this paper, we briefly review BLM’s statutory authority and the components of the rule and discuss how this rule will interact with EPA’s methane regulations for oil and gas.