News | December 5, 2017

Natural Gas, Oil Industry Launch Environmental Partnership To Accelerate Reductions In Methane, VOCs

America’s natural gas and oil industry recently announced a landmark partnership to accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country. Focused initially on reducing methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the Environmental Partnership includes 26 natural gas and oil producers, who produce a significant portion of American energy resources. Participating companies will begin implementing the voluntary program starting January 1, 2018.

“This groundbreaking partnership further demonstrates the industry’s leadership and commitment to responsibly developing America’s energy resources while reducing emissions,” said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. “U.S. methane emissions have fallen over the past decade as domestic natural gas and oil production has increased significantly due to the industry’s technology innovation and efforts to increase efficiencies. The Environmental Partnership seeks to accelerate emissions reductions and we’re headed in the right direction.”

Collectively, at the time of launch, the participating companies represent operations in every major U.S. natural gas and oil basin. The Environmental Partnership is a historic agreement bringing together American natural gas and oil companies of all sizes to take action, learn and collaborate in an effort to further improve our environmental performance.

“Industry is committed to environmental stewardship and the Environmental Partnership is a good vehicle to deliver industry focus and action. We are proactively taking steps to reduce methane emissions to ensure the sustainability of natural gas for generations to come,” says Greg Guidry, Executive Vice President for Shell’s Unconventionals business.

“We at Pioneer are glad to participate in this voluntary initiative that will allow even more companies to develop critical energy resources in an even more environmentally responsible manner,” said Mark Berg, Executive Vice President, Corporate/Vertically Integrated Operations at Pioneer Natural Resources. “The Environmental Partnership will help America’s natural gas and oil industry share goals, technologies and best practices that will make our environmental stewardship even stronger.”

The Environmental Partnership’s first initiative is focused on furthering action to reduce air emissions, including methane and volatile organic compounds, associated with natural gas and oil production. To accomplish this, the Environmental Partnership has developed three separate Environmental Performance Programs for participating companies to implement and phase into their operations starting January 1, 2018.

The three Environmental Performance Programs include:

  1. Leak Program for Natural Gas and Oil Production Sources: Participants will implement monitoring and timely repair of fugitive emissions at selected sites utilizing detection methods and technologies such as Method 21 or Optical Gas Imaging cameras.
  2. Program to Replace, Remove or Retrofit High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers: Participants will replace, remove or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low-or zero-emitting devices.
  3. Program for Manual Liquids Unloading for Natural Gas Production Sources: Participants will minimize emissions associated with the removal of liquids that, as a well ages, can build up and restrict natural gas flow.

In addition to its programs, the Environmental Partnership will provide a platform for industry to collaborate with stakeholders and learn from one another.

“The industry has a long record of implementing technology and practices that have proven to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental footprint of operations,” said Gerard. “In establishing the Environmental Partnership, the natural gas and oil industry is working together to promote the most effective programs and opportunities to improve environmental performance throughout our operations.”

Since its inception in 1919, API has developed research, standards and best practices for safety and environmental performance, including guidelines and software for estimating and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, guidelines for sustainability reporting, and hundreds of industry training programs. To date, the industry has reduced methane emissions from natural gas production 16.3 percent from 1990-2015, while natural gas production increased 55 percent. In addition, partially due to greater natural gas use in electricity generation, U.S. carbon emissions from energy consumption in 2016 were at their lowest level since 1992.

Participants at launch include:

  • Anadarko
  • Apache
  • BHP
  • BP
  • Chesapeake Energy
  • Cabot Oil and Gas
  • Chevron
  • Cimarex Energy
  • ConocoPhillips
  • CrownQuest
  • Devon Energy
  • Encana
  • EOG Resources
  • Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy
  • Hess
  • Marathon Oil
  • Murphy Oil
  • Newfield
  • Noble Energy
  • Occidental Petroleum
  • Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Shell
  • Southwestern Energy
  • Statoil
  • TOTAL
  • Western Gas Partners

To view more information about the program and companies’ commitments, visit www.TheEnvironmentalPartnership.org.

About API
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.

SOURCE: American Petroleum Institute