The EPA has issued a final rule to strengthen, expand, and update methane emissions reporting requirements for petroleum and natural gas systems under EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The final revisions will ensure greater transparency and accountability for methane pollution from oil and natural gas facilities by improving the accuracy of annual emissions reporting from these operations. Oil and natural gas facilities are the nation’s largest industrial source of methane, a climate “super pollutant” that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide and is responsible for approximately one third of the warming from greenhouse gases occurring today.

EPA’s latest action complements the whole-of-government initiative to slash methane emissions from every sector of the economy under the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Plan. In 2023 alone, nearly 100 actions were taken to bolster methane detection and reduce methane pollution from oil and gas operations, landfills, abandoned mines, agriculture, industry, and buildings.

The final rule updating the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is a key component of the Inflation Reduction Act’s Methane Emissions Reduction Program, as designed by Congress to help states, industry, and communities implement recently finalized Clean Air Act methane standards and slash methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The EPA is also mobilizing over $1 billion in financial and technical assistance to accelerate the transition to no- and low- emitting oil and gas technologies, as part of broad efforts to cut wasteful methane emissions.

Recent studies reveal that actual emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems are much greater than what has historically been reported to the GHGRP. This rule addresses that gap, including by facilitating the use of satellite data to identify super-emitters and quantify large emission events, requiring direct monitoring of key emission sources, and updating the methods for calculation. Together these changes support complete and accurate reporting and respond to Congress’s directive for the measurement of methane emissions to rely on empirical data.

The announcement is EPA’s latest step in tackling methane emissions that are fueling climate change, building on the agency’s recently finalized Clean Air Act standards to sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollutants from the oil and natural gas industry, promote the use of cutting-edge methane detection technologies, and deliver significant economic and public health benefits from methane emissions reductions. That rule established a Super-Emitter Program to help detect large leaks and releases, and today’s reporting rule will require owners and operators to quantify and report the emissions detected through that Program to help close the gap between observed methane emissions and reported emissions.

The final subpart W rule will dramatically improve the quality of emissions data reported from oil and natural gas operations, with provisions that improve the quantification of methane emissions, incorporate advances in methane emissions measurement technology, and streamline compliance with other EPA regulations. For the first time, EPA is allowing for the use of advanced technologies such as satellites to help quantify emissions in subpart W. In addition, EPA is finalizing new methodologies that allow for the use of empirical data for quantifying emissions, including options added in response to public comments on the proposed rule. The final rule also allows for the optional earlier use of empirical data calculation methodologies for facilities that prefer to use them to quantify 2024 emissions. These changes will improve transparency and expand the options for owners and operators to submit empirical data to demonstrate their effort to reduce methane emissions and identify whether a Waste Emissions Charge is owed, based on thresholds set by Congress.

Advanced measurement technologies, and their use for annual quantification of emissions, are evolving rapidly. EPA is committed to transparent and continual improvements to its programs to account for these advancements while ensuring reporting is accurate and complete. The agency intends to take the following steps to gather further information about advanced measurement technologies and to inform potential regulatory changes or other standard setting programs that encourage the use of more accurate and comprehensive measurement strategies:

  • This summer, EPA will solicit input on the use of advanced measurement data and methods in subpart W by issuing a Request for Information and opening a non-regulatory docket, including specific questions and topics on which EPA seeks input from the public. EPA intends to use the feedback received to consider whether it is appropriate to undertake further rulemaking addressing the use of advanced measurement technologies in subpart W, beyond the role for these technologies that is already provided in today’s rule.
  • EPA also seeks to continuously update its knowledge about new measurement and detection technologies, and to elicit input from stakeholders and experts about how such advances should inform EPA’s regulations. To keep pace with this dynamic field, EPA plans to undertake a solicitation or engagement for information about advanced measurement and detection technologies (in the form of a Request for Information, workshop, or similar mechanism) on at least a biennial basis. These engagements will enable EPA to learn about technological advances and the extent to which there is robust information about their accuracy, reliability, and appropriateness for use in a regulatory reporting program.
For more information, visit