Noble Energy settles state, federal pollution claim, could spend $73.5 million on fines, fixes

Oil Tank Battery in Weld County Colorado with protective liner

Oil Tank Battery in Weld County

By Mark Jaffe – The Denver Post – April 22, 2015

Noble Energy, Colorado’s second-largest oil and gas driller, has agreed to a settlement with state and federal regulators over Front Range air-pollution violations that could involve as much as $73.5 million in upgrades and new programs.

The company’s tank batteries were emitting thousands of tons of volatile organic chemicals a year, contributing to the region’s ozone pollution problem, according to an analysis by regulators

Houston-based Noble agreed to evaluate its 3,400 tank batteries in the Denver-Julesburg Basin and make needed upgrades.

The basin stretches from Denver to the Wyoming border.

Noble produced the equivalent of 21 million barrels of oil and gas in 2014 from the basin. Only The Woodlands, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum produces more, according to state data.

“It is a precedent-setting settlement because it takes a basinwide approach,” assistant U.S. Attorney General John Cruden said Tuesday. “It is a systemic solution.”

The complaint and the settlement were set to be filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on Wednesday morning, Justice Department officials said. There will be a 30-day public-comment period before the settlement is final, they said.

Continue reading story at The Denver Post

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