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Oil and Natural Gas Air Pollution Standards

Basic Information

Emissions from the Oil & Natural Gas Industry

The oil and natural gas industry includes a wide range of operations and equipment, from wells to natural gas gathering lines and processing facilities, to storage tanks, and transmission and distribution pipelines.

The industry is the largest industrial source of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a group of chemicals that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog). Exposure to ozone is linked to a wide range of health effects, including aggravated asthma, increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and premature death. EPA estimates VOC emission from the oil & natural gas industry at 2.2 million tons a year in 2008.

The oil and natural gas industry also is a significant source of emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Emissions of air toxics such as benzene, ethylbenzene, and n-hexane, also come from this industry. Air toxics are pollutants known, or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects.

image showing oil and gas operations


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