The Environmental Partnership's New Flaring Program
Posted December 16, 2020
A new program aimed at reducing flaring in upstream operations underscores The Environmental Partnership’s founding commitment – to seek ways to expand members’ efforts to further reduce emissions and improve industry’s environmental performance.
The flaring program is a significant addition to The Partnership’s list of performance programs. As with programs on pneumatic controllers, manual liquids unloading, leak detection and repair, compressors and pipeline blowdowns, the flaring program will focus on shared technologies, knowledge and best practices to foster actions that reduce flaring.
It’s a critically important step for The Partnership, which has more than 80 members, representing more than 70% of total U.S. onshore oil and natural gas production. Vanessa Ryan, manager of the carbon reduction team at Chevron and The Environmental Partnership chair:
“While U.S. operators have proven it’s possible to increase production while also reducing flaring, our participating companies share the community, shareholder, regulatory and environmental perspective that flaring must be reduced.”
The Partnership’s flaring program will advance best practices to reduce flare volumes, promote the beneficial uses of “associated” natural gas produced from oil wells and improve flare reliability and efficiency.
Under the flaring program there’s a commitment to report data to calculate flare intensity, which is flare volumes relative to production. The data will be analyzed and aggregated to develop a fact base leading to a better understanding of flaring, while identifying more ways to reduce it further.
Typically, flaring occurs for a few reasons – a lack of natural gas gathering/processing capacity during facility or gathering maintenance; for safety, to alleviate pressure; and when an oil well produces associated natural gas and there’s no pipeline infrastructure to take it away. In those cases, flaring the natural gas is safer and better for the environment than venting it into the air, because flaring releases fewer greenhouse gas emissions than venting. Devon Energy’s Mike Smith:
“This new Flare Management Program is another tool that will deliver invaluable data to better understand the cause, our progress, and inform the future actions needed to minimize flaring.”
Again, this is a big move by The Partnership, which included 36 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers in 2019. Implementing a flaring program is key in the national conversation about lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Flaring is publicly visible, yet often misunderstood by the public. The Partnership’s new program will help address both.
As stated already, the flaring program is The Partnership’s members following through on their commitment to continuously improve environmental performance and reduce emissions – even as they produce the safe, reliable energy Americans count on every day. Matthew Todd, director for The Environmental Partnership:
“This commitment to reduce flaring builds on the industry’s progress in reducing methane emissions and is the latest example of how companies are constantly innovating to improve environmental performance while delivering affordable, reliable energy around the world.”
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and six grandchildren.
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