Partnership Releases Inaugural Report on Emissions Progress

(August 28, 2019) — The Environmental Partnership, an initiative of U.S. natural gas and oil producers, has released the first of what is planned to be an annual report high- lighting the industry’s progress in reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds. The report contains updates on the partnership’s three performance programs, as well as its growth from just over 20 participants at launch to now counting 65 companies that represent more than 80% of the top natural gas producers in the U.S.

“Our industry is taking action to reduce methane emissions from our operations,” said Mike Sommers, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API). “Through innovative and action-oriented partnerships like this one, we will continue to take action to protect our environment and safely produce and deliver the energy consumers demand. The Environ- mental Partnership places technological innovation, collaboration with academia, engineers, and manufacturers, and industry action at the heart of its mission and we’re proud of its tremendous progress and activity in its first year.”

API comments that America’s production basins are a telling example of how industry actions are result- ing in environmental progress. U.S. methane emissions relative to total production in basins throughout the nation are down, while production has increased dramatically and the U.S. is leading the world in producing natural gas and oil. In the Permian Basin, energy production grew 100% from 2011 to 2017, while methane emissions relative to production fell nearly 40%. In the Eagle Ford Basin, production grew 130% over the same time period and methane emissions relative to production dropped nearly 70%.

At its launch in 2017, the Environmental Partnership introduced three performance programs for participants to implement and phase into their operations by Jan. 1, 2018. Companies monitored their work throughout the year and reported their 2018 data to the partnership earlier this year.

Under the Implementing Leak Detection and Repair Program, more than 156,000 surveys were con- ducted across more than 78,000 production sites. The surveys found that only 0.16% of components were in need of repair—10 times lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate of a 1.4% leak rate. Ninety-nine percent of repairs were completed within 60 days.

The Replacing Pneumatic Controller Program involved more than 31,000 high-bleed pneumatic con- trollers being replaced, retrofitted, or removed from service by companies participating. Notably, 38 companies no longer employ any high-bleed pneumatic controllers in their operations as innovative technologies and newer infrastructure moves in to replace them.

Through the Environmental Partnership’s Manual Liquids Unloading Program more than 132,000 manual liquids unloading events were monitored in 2018, helping to minimize emissions associated with the removal of liquids and with an aim of increasing the efficiency of each well through stepped-up monitoring.

“This data collected from the Environmental Partnership—from the majority of the largest natural gas producers in the U.S.—underscores the industry’s commitment to tracking our progress and ensuring that our work together is reducing our emissions,” said Vanessa Ryan, a senior advisor at Chevron and program chair- woman of the Environmental Partnership.

“The Environmental Partnership is now a model that can be applied to meet other challenges in the future,” added Matthew Todd, program director at the partnership. “The Environmental Partnership has more than doubled in participant size and this growth is a testament to the industry’s commitment to its mission, its effective approach, valuable industry workshops, and information sharing and collaboration on technologies and techniques to reduce the industry’s environmental impacts.”

The partnership hosted several workshops and conferences across three of the largest U.S. natural gas basins last year. At the meetings, participants learned about best practices, advanced technologies, and collaborated with industry experts, regulators, researchers, and academics on innovative ways to develop and manage their own environmental programs. For additional information and to view the Environmental Partnership report, visit TheEnvironmentalPartnership.org.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, August 26, 2019)