Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published new data showing that in 2017 oil and gas companies that participated in EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program reduced methane emissions equivalent to nearly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – all through voluntary actions to reduce emissions from key sources across their operations.
“We greatly appreciate the actions these companies are taking to lead the way in improving efficiency, reducing methane emissions, and improving air quality,” said Anne Idsal, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. “These companies are showing that pollution prevention and profitability can go hand-in-hand—because less methane in the air means more natural gas product in the pipeline to deliver to customers.”
The Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program is a voluntary program launched in 2016 by the EPA in collaboration with oil and natural gas companies. It builds on the successes of the Natural Gas STAR program, through which partner companies have achieved cost-effective methane reductions for more than 20 years. The Methane Challenge Program provides partner companies a platform to make a company-wide commitment to cut methane emissions, track and report their actions, and be recognized by EPA for their achievements. More than 60 companies from all segments of the industry—production, gathering and boosting, transmission and storage, and distribution—are now program partners.
The extensive data provided by companies on their voluntary efforts provides important information to the public and serves as a guide for other companies looking to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions. Highlights from the reported data include the following:
- Partners’ 2017 methane reductions kept nearly $6 million worth of natural gas in the pipeline.
- Distribution segment companies reported replacement of mor than 1,400 miles of cast iron pipelines and more than 2,000 miles of unprotected steel pipelines. These actions reduced methane emissions from old, leaky pipes by over 230,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
- Transmission segment companies reduced methane emissions from pipeline “blowdowns” during planned pipe replacement/maintenance activities by nearly 650,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
To learn more about our Methane Challenge Partners, their commitments and their achievements to date, see: https://www.epa.gov/natural-gas-star-program/methane-challenge-partners
More information the Natural Gas STAR and Methane Challenge Program and how to join can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/natural-gas-star-program.