What is Methane?
Methane is an odorless, colorless greenhouse gas, emitted both in nature and through human activity. Methane emissions account for approximately 11 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities and come from three primary sources: agriculture, energy and waste management.
Reducing Methane Emissions
Reducing methane emissions is a priority for our industry to address the risks of climate change. Thanks to innovation and industry actions, average methane emissions intensity declined by nearly 66 percent across all seven major onshore producing regions from 2011 to 2021, even as America produced more affordable, reliable and cleaner natural gas.
The natural gas and oil industry is working to further reduce emissions and keep methane in the pipe throughout its operations. Through individual company actions and collective, industry-led initiatives like The Environmental Partnership, our industry is working to better understand, detect, and mitigate emissions by developing new technologies and practices. API supports cost-effective, direct regulation that achieves methane emissions reductions from new and existing sources.
Our Strategic Approach to Methane Management and Emissions Reduction
API member companies are committed to reducing methane emissions as a key component of responsibly producing oil, natural gas and petrochemical products. Companies are working diligently to reduce methane emissions through innovative facility design, improvements in operational practices and procedures, advancements in detecting and measuring emissions, and improved accuracy in emissions reporting data. By strategically focusing efforts on these four critical areas, our industry is establishing a blueprint to continuously drive methane emissions reductions.
Facility Design: Our industry is investing resources to evaluate, enhance, and optimize facility designs to minimize methane leakage, and identify cost-effective opportunities to retrofit existing facilities.
Operations and Maintenance: Through investments in research and collaboration, our industry is identifying and advancing improvements in operations and maintenance practices and procedures to drive reductions in methane intensity.
Measurement and Detection: The natural gas and oil industry innovates monitoring, detection, and measurement technologies and techniques to enhance and expand methane detection and emission reduction capabilities.
Data Integrity: Trust in the industry’s reported methane inventory is a priority for our members. We support voluntary efforts in measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) to accurately quantify emissions. This focus includes sharing best practices regarding new and evolving independent data verification services and continued advances in methane monitoring, detection, and measurement technologies and protocols.
Launched by API in 2017, The Environmental Partnership is an industry-led coalition of oil and natural gas companies that have voluntarily committed to continuously improve the industry’s environmental performance. Through the Partnership, companies are taking action by implementing performance programs within their organizations, learning and sharing best practices and new technologies, and fostering collaboration. Its key value to the industry is providing a platform for operator peer-to-peer sharing across the four critical elements of facility design, operations and maintenance, measurement and detection, and data integrity.
Since its inception, the Partnership has quadrupled in industry participants and now represents more than 70% of total U.S. onshore natural gas and oil production. From leak detection and repair programs to collaboration with leading research institutions and an initiative to reduce flaring, The Partnership is leading the way toward a cleaner future.
Advocating for Policies and Regulation that Achieve Methane Emission Reductions
API supports cost-effective policies and direct regulation of methane for new and existing sources across the supply chain. We are committed to working with EPA to establish regulations that promote innovation and advance the progress made in reducing emissions. Technological innovation and effective regulation both have an important role to play in reducing methane emissions. These regulations, alongside voluntary programs like The Environmental Partnership, can support methane emissions reductions.