Noble Energy agrees to improve air emission controls in DJ basin


HOUSTON -- Noble Energy, Inc. has announced an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State of Colorado to improve emission control systems on a number of oil storage tanks located within the Denver-Julesberg basin (DJ basin) that may no longer comply with air regulations.

Based on the EPA and Colorado's initial review of a relatively small number of older tank batteries, Noble Energy elected to expand the consent decree to identify additional opportunities to reduce emissions within the DJ basin.

"By working together with the federal government and the State of Colorado to reduce emissions we are doing the right thing," said Gary Willingham, Noble Energy executive V.P. of Operations. "We're implementing a serious action plan through which we will evaluate tank batteries throughout our DJ basin operations, remove the tank batteries that should be removed, improve others and implement enhanced environmental strategies."

In accordance with the agreement's schedule, Noble Energy will evaluate, monitor, verify, and report on the adequate design, operation and maintenance of certain aspects of its storage tank systems.

This process, which is anticipated to continue into 2019, will result in expenditures to upgrade storage tank systems. The system upgrade expenditures cannot yet be quantified but are not expected to be material for the company’s operations in the DJ basin.

Noble Energy will also pay $4.95 million in civil penalties, provide $4 million in funding for supplemental environmental projects and $4.5 million in mitigation projects.

Mitigation measures in the agreement will further reduce emissions. They include retrofitting engines to run on natural gas, upgrading control systems for transferring oil and other liquids from storage tanks to tanker trucks, and supporting scientific research on sampling and analytical methods for managing pressurized liquids. Noble Energy will also provide funding for Front Range air quality programs, including incentives for the change out of wood-burning stoves and gasoline-powered lawn mowers.

A notice of the agreement between Noble Energy, EPA, DOJ and the State of Colorado has been filed with the U.S. District Court in Denver. The consent decree will be published in the Federal Register and subject to public comment for 30 days.

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