Oil and Gas Industry

Contact: Clean Air Assistance Program, 800-662-9278
Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Picture of oil well pump.

Under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) was charged with regulating 188 sources of toxic air pollutants. These toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), are pollutants which are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects such as birth defects or reproductive effects. On July 16, 1992, the USEPA published a list of industry groups (known as source categories) that emit one or more of these hazardous air pollutants. The Clean Air Act requires the USEPA to develop standards that are based on stringent air pollution controls, known as maximum achievable control technology (MACT). Oil and natural gas production and natural gas transmission and storage are source categories listed by the USEPA for regulation.

Emissions of HAPs from oil and natural gas production facilities and natural gas transmission and storage facilities occur during the separation, upgrade, transport, and storage of crude oil, condensate, natural gas, and related products and by-products. In addition, emissions occur as a result of vapor leaks from pumps, compressors, valves, flanges, and other equipment in liquid and gas service that contribute to emissions of hazardous air pollutants.

Emissions from various processes and operations at oil and natural gas facilities and natural gas transmission and storage facilities typically contain at least five different HAPs. The primary HAPs emitted from these facilities are benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, mixed xylenes, and n-hexane.

Approximately 440 of an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 facilities nationwide are affected by the final oil and natural gas production emission standards. The USEPA is requiring affected facilities to apply existing and affordable control technologies to known emission points. In addition, in an effort to increase flexibility, the USEPA is encouraging the use of pollution prevention to reduce emissions of HAPs from the process vents at glycol dehydration systems. These vents constitute the largest single identified HAP emission point for the oil and natural gas production source category.

Requirements for the oil and gas industry are monitored and enforced by each Air Quality Division District Office of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Technical Assistance Resources

Notification Report Forms


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