Come from natural gas and petroleum systems

“It’s probably prudent to take a look at this and see what we can do voluntarily,” Glatt said.

The EPA says methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted from the U.S. and that the majority of those emissions come from natural gas and petroleum systems.

In February, Colorado became the first state to put methane emission regulations in place on the oil and gas industry.

While state regulations on methane emissions in North Dakota are unlikely, Glatt said, cutting emissions from the oil field is relatively easy and could save producers from trouble down the road.

“Just paying some attention to detail, make sure valves and hatches are closed and that combustors on flares are operating will reduce a lot of that on the operational end of it,” he said.

Glatt said the North Dakota Department of Health is in the process of acquiring infrared cameras, which can detect methane leaks. He said the department will begin monitoring oil sites for leaks, but this will be done largely in an “educational” role to help companies identify problems.

But while methane is an issue, Glatt said it is difficult to quantify.

“I think everybody knows leaks are occurring,” he said. “How big of a problem it is, I don’t think anybody really knows.”

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