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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Why EPA’s Modified Methane Rule is Good for the U.S.

emission reductions  epa  greenhouse gases  methane  the-environmental-partnership 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 14, 2020

Three reasons EPA’s newly modified rule on methane is good for the environment and U.S. energy – because both are critically important for our nation’s growth and prosperity:

1. Industry will keep reducing emissions while innovating for the future

2. The rule is consistent with the federal Clean Air Act

3. Effective state regulation is recognized



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Modernization of EPA Natural Gas and Oil Standards Enables Continued Emissions Reductions

emission reductions  methane  natural gas 

Frank Macchiarola

Frank Macchiarola
Posted August 13, 2020

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has long shared the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal of reducing emissions from its operations and has consistently and successfully done so while meeting America’s energy needs every day. Specifically, methane is the natural gas we use in our homes and businesses, so operators have a strong incentive to bring it to market.

Methane emissions rates from five of the largest oil and natural gas producing regions across the U.S. – including the Permian and Marcellus basins in Texas, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively – were down nearly 70%  from 2011 to 2018, even as production in those regions increased dramatically. Industry is committed to building on these positive trends through voluntary initiatives like The Environmental Partnership.

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Environmental Partnership Leadership and Modified Methane Rule

the-environmental-partnership  epa  emission reductions  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 4, 2020

Let’s follow up on the recent news coming out of The Environmental Partnership – that the group is opening membership to industry’s midstream sector and that participants are discussing the best ways to reduce routine flaring.

Both are big-time developments; both show that the Partnership is doing what it set out to do when it was born in December 2017. Both will help protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – even as our industry produces the energy Americans count on every day.

Adding midstream companies (including pipelines and storage infrastructure) comes as the Partnership reports more than tripling its membership, including 36 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers. It’s more than numbers. Each new member company means a new commitment to improve environmental performance in the field. Growth means the Partnership’s program to reduce methane emissions is extending further across the country. And now, here comes the midstream.

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Membership Rise, Midstream Expansion Add to Environmental Partnership’s Reach

the-environmental-partnership  emission reductions  natural gas  methane 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted July 15, 2020

The Environmental Partnership continues to grow, broadening the reach of the industry initiative to further reduce emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds across the country.

In releasing its annual report, the Partnership announced it is expanding its membership to midstream companies. The Partnership, which has tripled the number of participating companies since it was launched, currently includes 36 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers.

Again, the Partnership’s membership growth means that more and more companies have signed on to the Partnership’s strategy of bringing operators together to learn from each other, collaborate on technologies and best practices and to take actions that improve their environmental performance. More broadly, this growth shows industry’s commitment to lower emissions and protect the environment while also supplying the energy that makes modern life possible. 

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EDF Mapping Data is Preliminary, Comes With Caveats

emission reductions  methane  permian basin 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 8, 2020

Some thoughts on the preliminary data from the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) methane mapping project in the Permian Basin.

First, our industry welcomes new information that helps identify ways operators can further decrease methane emissions from production. The data must be verified (more on this below), and potentially could add to the knowledge base around the objective of reducing emissions.

Toward that objective, U.S. natural gas and oil companies launched The Environmental Partnership in  2017 with a focus on finding technologies, best practices and innovations that would capture as much methane as possible – since methane is the chief component in the natural gas our industry delivers to consumers. The Partnership, whose 75 members include 33 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers, is one of a number of industry-led initiatives that seek to further reduce methane emissions.


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Texas Flaring Coalition Enhances Industry’s Commitment to Reduce Emissions

methane emissions  natural gas production  the-environmental-partnership  texas 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 3, 2020

The natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to accelerate the reduction of methane emissions is being advanced on a number of fronts. The Environmental Partnership, whose 75 members include 33 of the top 40 U.S. producers of natural gas, is in its third year of sharing of knowledge and technologies to further reduce emissions. This week, the Texas Methane & Flaring Coalition, whose members represent nearly 80% of oil production in the state, was launched to work on flaring. 

The coalition’s key initiatives include: developing best practices and opportunities to minimize methane emissions and flaring, improving accuracy and consistency in the reporting of vented and flared volumes and increasing public understanding of the safety and environmental reasons for flaring.

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Producing Energy, Reducing Emissions in New Mexico

new mexico  emission reductions  production  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 8, 2019

Take a look at a recent interview with API President and CEO Mike Sommers conducted by Albuquerque TV station KOB-4 – a conversation about the dual challenge of providing the energy Americans need every day to work, grow and prosper, while protecting the environment and lowering emissions. There’s no better setting for this discussion than in energy-rich New Mexico.

Indeed, the prolific Permian Basin that covers New Mexico’s southeastern corner before spreading into neighboring Texas is a big reason why the United States continues to lead the world in natural gas and oil production.


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Capturing VOCs Emissions – and Methane

emission reductions  methane  epa  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 24, 2019

A key factor in EPA’s recent decision not to directly regulate methane is the simple fact that existing regulation of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas and oil production also reduces methane as a co-benefit.

It might surprise some, but on this point current EPA officials are aligned with their agency predecessors under President Obama.


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Strengthening EPA Emissions Standards

emission reductions  epa  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 29, 2019

With EPA’s reconsideration of its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas and oil production, some insist the changes will trash environmental protections.

This “rollback” narrative is false and largely designed to play to the extreme environmentalist crowd. Contrary to that view, modifying the NSPS could reduce duplication with state programs, provide greater clarity for industry in its regulatory compliance and, ultimately, further lower methane and other emissions and protect the environment by making it easier for operators to gain approvals for use of new, innovative technologies to detect fugitive emissions for repair. In fact, this procedural correction is best described as a realignment with the agency’s obligations under the Clean Air Act.

The well-worn “rollback” tale also dismisses the effective role of technology, innovation and industry initiative in reducing emissions – such as The Environmental Partnership. It discounts industry’s strong motivation to reduce emissions, which it has done in growing measure amid increased natural gas and oil production.

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Natural Gas, Lower Methane Emissions and Rising Opportunity

natural gas from shale  emission reductions  methane  the-environmental-partnership 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 19, 2019

Even with natural gas playing a leading role in reducing U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest levels in a generation and strong industry initiative to keep lowering production-related methane emissions, natural gas opponents remain on the attack, including a new study that's critical of natural gas from North American shale (see rebuttals, here and here).

More authoritative and trustworthy is the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which issued these methane-related conclusions in a study published earlier this year …

U.S. natural gas has proven environmental and climate benefits, and it’s critically important here at home and around the world, helping to reduce energy poverty and improve peoples’ lives.


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