Oil and gas industry leaders in New Mexico’s Permian Basin said they were taking steps to reduce air pollution amid tougher New Mexico state regulations and potentially from the federal government.
Three of the region’s largest oil and gas producers, Devon Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources and ConocoPhillips announced that they are joining an international consortium of companies and government agencies aimed at reducing the impacts of air pollution from development of fossil fuels.
The Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) 2.0 is made up of energy companies, environmental groups and is supported by the governments of Norway and the UK.
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The energy industry is expected to work together to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, saying the industry could reduce this pollution by 70 million metric tons of methane – the equivalent climate impact of 6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – thanks to better reporting, detection and the use of new technologies.
A gigatonne is equal to 1 million metric tons.
“Companies have many options to reduce vented emissions, such as electrifying sites or capturing vented gas for fuel use,” reads a statement on the partnership’s website.
“It is essential that companies not only address active leaks, but also examine the root causes of emissions to identify and address potential sources of high emissions in the future.”
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Member companies will adopt the emission reporting standards set by the initiative, via press release, and receive advice and suggested practices from other members to reduce their impact on air pollution.
ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance said the company hopes through the initiative to eliminate its overall emissions from its worldwide operations by around 2050.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, is an important priority for ConocoPhillips, and we are delighted to join industry members and stakeholders in advancing this important area of waste management. shows,” he said in a statement.
“We believe that applying the rigorous OGMP 2.0 reporting standard to all of our global assets will be a critical step on our path to net-zero operational emissions by mid-century.”
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Devon Energy CEO Rick Muncrief said his company also plans to move to “net zero” methane emissions over the next 30 years, meaning the company will phase out an equal amount of greenhouse gas. greenhouse (GHG) from the air it emits.
“The deployment of advanced methane sensing technology and increased transparency are key elements of Devon’s broader emissions reduction strategy, including our goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions for scopes of application. 1 and 2 by 2050,” he said in a statement.
“We believe that collaboration and collective effort is necessary to advance meaningful change at a rapid pace and we are excited to join OGMP 2.0 with our industry peers who share Devon’s intention to power in the world while reducing our impact on the environment.”
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As a leading operator in the Permian Basin – the most active shale region in the United States for oil and a leading natural gas basin, Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield said the reduction of pollution from his business and from producers in the area was necessary to have an impact.
“Given that we operate in one of the largest oil producing basins in the world, enabling methane emissions reduction using accurate and transparent reporting is imperative for Pioneer as well as other major producers in the Permian Basin. “, did he declare.
Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund said the fossil fuel industry was a key target to stop the environmental damage caused by energy development in the United States and around the world.
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“Today, all eyes are on the oil and gas industry. Stakeholders demand real, robust emissions data that they can trust,” he said. “Reducing methane emissions is the easiest and fastest way to help meet our energy and climate goals, even as the world moves towards long-term decarbonization.
“Solutions exist for companies to reduce their emissions quickly and cheaply.”
The industry’s redoubled efforts to reduce pollution came amid tighter emissions restrictions imposed by state regulators in New Mexico – which shares the Permian Basin with Texas – and the US Agency for Environmental Protection.
Last year, New Mexico enacted requirements in its Oil Conservation Division that prohibited routine flaring, burning excess gas, prohibited liquid or gas spills, and required operators of the state to capture 98% of gas produced by 2026.
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Earlier this summer, the New Mexico Department of the Environment (NMED) put its new rules into effect, requiring oil and gas companies to reduce their emissions of volatile organic compounds and other pollutants known to form pollutants. ground-level ozone through increased leak detection, reporting and repair requirements. .
The NMED rules focused on the state’s major oil and gas regions: the southeast Permian Basin and the northwest San Juan Basin, where ozone levels were already considered above federal standards.
This potential exceedance led the EPA to begin investigating the Permian to potentially deem it in violation of air quality standards – a designation that would restrict oil and gas permits in the region.
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To address the industry’s impact on New Mexico’s air, in 2021 the state certified Kairos Aerospace to provide airborne oilfield leak detection technology.
On Tuesday, the company said the new state ozone and OCD rules could help operators avoid regulatory entanglements from federal action because they align with existing similar requirements in the EPA.
“Overall, this appears to be a sound decision that will hopefully allow New Mexico to achieve the emissions reductions it needs without creating unnecessary complexity for regulated entities,” reads the statement. a Kairos report.
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For most oil and gas sites, NMED required quarterly leak surveys, potentially lowering that standard to once or twice a year for smaller companies.
For any site, regardless of size, within 1,000 feet of a home or other occupied structure, the rules require quarterly reporting.
“This is a big win for conservationists who wanted to see a tougher final rule,” the Kairos report read.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.