DOE, EPA announce $850M to reduce methane emissions from oil, natural gas industries

Published on June 25, 2024 by Debra Flax

© Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced $850 million in federal funding was available for projects that will help monitor, measure, quantify, and reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.

The funding, for which applications are now open, is part of the Methane Emissions Reduction Program that was established through the Biden administration’s historic Inflation Reduction Act. This funding opportunity furthers national efforts to cut methane pollution as the agencies took nearly 100 actions in 2023 alone, according to a progress report released by the White House.

“As we continue to accelerate the nation’s clean energy transition, we are taking steps now to drastically reduce harmful emissions from America’s largest source of industrial methane – the oil and gas sector,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “I am proud to partner with EPA to help revitalize energy communities and deliver long-lasting health and environmental benefits across the country.”

The primary objectives of the funding opportunity include:

  1. Helping small operators significantly reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations through the use of commercially available technology solutions for emissions monitoring, measurement, quantification, and mitigation;
  2. Accelerating the repair of methane leaks from low-producing wells as well as the development of existing equipment such as natural gas compressors, gas-fueled engines, and associated gas flares;
  3. Improving communities’ access to empirical data and participation in monitoring through installation of monitoring and measurement technologies while establishing collaborative relationships with equipment providers and communities;
  4. And enhancing the detection and measurement of methane emissions from oil and gas operations at regional scale while ensuring national data consistency through collaborative partnerships.

“Today, we’re building on strong standards and historic progress to cut methane pollution and protect communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will drive the deployment of available and advanced technologies to better understand where methane emissions are coming from. That will help us more effectively reduce harmful pollution, tackle the climate crisis, and create good-paying jobs.”

This funding announcement builds on the $350 million in formula grant funding the DOE and EPA announced in December 2023 to support state industry efforts to voluntarily reduce emissions at low-producing wells, monitor emissions, and conduct environmental restoration at well pads.

Funding applicants are required to submit Community Benefits Plans to demonstrate meaningful engagement with and tangible benefits to the communities in which the proposed projects will be located. These plans must provide details on the applicant’s commitments to community and labor engagement, quality job creation, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and benefits to disadvantaged communities marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution as part of the Justice40 Initiative.

The deadline for projects that qualify for the Methane Emissions Reduction Program is Aug. 26, 2025.