The Emission standard of air pollutants for onshore oil and gas exploitation and production industry is China’s first pollution emission standard for the oil and gas industry. The standard goes into effect on 1 January 2021 for new facilities and 1 January 2023 for existing facilities. While the regulation mostly targets volatile organic compound and sulfur dioxide emissions, some of the rules influence controlling methane emissions.
On restrictions to flaring and venting, the standard stipulates:
(1) Closed processing should be applied throughout the whole flow path of collecting, processing, and transporting the products of the oil and gas wells.
(2) Vented natural gas should be recycled. In case it is not feasible or difficult to recycle, it should be flared. If it is not feasible to flare, entities shall report to local ecology and environment regulatory agencies.
(3) The flaring system of the oil and gas centralised processing plant and natural gas processing plant shall meet the following conditions: recycling the liquid discharged into the flare system; ensuring natural gas and VOCs are flared timely and sufficiently; continuously monitoring and recording the flaring system, with a record kept for at least three years.
In key regions determined by the central government as critical for air pollution control, leak detection and repair (LDAR) are also required to in any oil and gas centralized processing plant, natural gas processing plant, and bulk petroleum terminal meeting the conditions described in the standard.