New industry partnership focuses on cutting emissions

By Patrick C. Miller | December 07, 2017

The oil and gas industry this month launched a new organization called The Environmental Partnership with the goal of voluntarily reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

The group has attracted 26 companies from every U.S. basin and is looking for more members. The goal is to continuously improve environmental performance—including the accelerated reduction of methane and VOC emissions. Participants will begin implementing the voluntary program Jan. 1.

“Industry is committed to environmental stewardship and The Environmental Partnership is a good vehicle to deliver industry focus and action,” said Greg Guidry, executive vice president for Shell’s unconventionals business. “We are proactively taking steps to reduce methane emissions to ensure the sustainability of natural gas for generations to come.”

The partnership’s first initiative focuses on actions to reduce air emissions associated with natural gas and oil production. The organization developed three environmental performance programs for participating companies to implement and phase into their operations starting in 2018.

They include implementing the monitoring and timely repair of fugitive emissions at selected sites using detection methods and technologies; replacing, removing or retrofitting high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low- or zero-emitting devices; and minimizing emissions associated the removal of liquids that can cause the buildup or restricted flow of natural gas.

“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,” said Mark Berg, executive vice president of corporate and vertically integrated operations at Pioneer Natural Resources.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) called The Environmental Partnership “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.”

Jack Gerard, API president and CEO, said, the partnership demonstrated the oil and gas industry’s leadership in developing energy and reducing emissions. “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,” he said.

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.”

Current companies participating are: Anadarko, Apache, BHP, BP, Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil and Gas, Chevron, Cimarex Energy, ConocoPhillips, CrownQuest, Devon Energy, Encana, EOG Resources, ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy, Hess Corp., Marathon Oil, Murphy Exploration & Production, Newfield, Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Pioneer Natural Resources, Shell, Southwestern Energy, Statoil, TOTAL and Western Gas Partners.