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Launch Press call Remarks for the Environmental Partnership



December 5, 2017, 11am


Erik Milito, API

Greg Guidry, Shell

Mark Berg, Pioneer

Erik Milito, American Petroleum Institute

Thank you all for joining us this morning for this important announcement. My name is Erik Milito, and I am the upstream and industry operations group director of the American Petroleum Institute.  I am pleased to be joined by two of my colleagues from the natural gas and oil industry – Greg Guidry, executive vice president of Unconventionals at Shell and Mark Berg, the executive vice president, Corporate/Vertically Integrated Operations at Pioneer Natural Resources.

We are here today to announce an important new initiative of America’s natural gas and oil industry. The Environmental Partnership is a voluntary program made up of companies in America’s natural gas and oil industry who are working together to continuously improve the industry’s environmental performance. We are also joined here by Matt Todd, who will be the Partnership's Program Director.  Matt has extensive experience in the upstream environmental field and will be an asset for the industry through his leadership.

We do not view this as an API program, but as an industry program and we are hopeful that many more companies throughout the country will join this important effort.

The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is committed to the protection of human health, safety and the environment. Even as natural gas production has increased more than 51 percent since 1990, methane emissions from natural gas operations have declined by 16.3 percent over that same period. And thanks to the growth in natural gas usage, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from power generation have fallen by 25 percent since 2005, helping to bring America’s total greenhouse gas emissions to near 25-year lows.

Now, through The Environmental Partnership, our industry is taking the next step to build on these successes and demonstrate continued leadership in addressing environmental issues. The Environmental Partnership is 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.

The Environmental Partnership will target the greatest sources of emissions, as identified by research and collected data from the EPA and industry sources. To that end, the Partnership’s first initiative is focused on further reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds associated with natural gas and oil production. Our industry has deployed the technologies and implemented best practices to reduce emissions, and Partnership will serve to positively continue that trend.  My colleagues on this call will tell you more about how we will do that.

I want to thank the many members of our industry who have worked over the course of a year to help develop The Environmental Partnership. This groundbreaking initiative is an important reminder of our industry’s commitment to responsibly developing America’s energy resources. The team at the American Petroleum Institute looks forward to working with our industry partners to make The Environmental Partnership a success.

Now I’m pleased to introduce Greg Guidry with Shell.

Greg Guidry, Shell

Thank you, Erik.  My name is Greg Guidry, and I am the executive vice president of Unconventionals at Shell. Shell is very pleased to be a founding member of The Environmental Partnership, and we look forward to being an active participant.

As Erik mentioned, the Environmental Partnership’s first initiative is focused on reducing emissions, particularly methane and volatile organic compounds. This will be done through three environmental performance programs. The Participants can voluntarily participate in any of the programs, or in all three.

The first program is centered on the detection and timely repair of leaks from natural gas and oil production sources. Participants will employ improved detection technologies such as optical gas imaging cameras to identify components for repair.

The second program will replace, remove or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers within the next five years.  For those of you unfamiliar with pneumatic controllers, they are a major component of remote, automated sites. The controllers use gas pressure to control the operation of mechanical devices and release, or “bleed” natural gas during normal operation. Because pneumatic controllers are prevalent in the natural gas and oil industry, they comprise a major source of emissions. The replacement of high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low- or zero-emitting devices will help lead to further emissions reductions.

The third program is the implementation of a best practice to minimize emissions associated with the liquids unloading process. As some of you know, over time gas production at a well naturally declines and liquids can accumulate in the well, which then impedes the flow of natural gas. To remove these liquids, operators temporarily divert liquid flow from the well to above ground facilities, resulting in temporary venting of the associated gas to the atmosphere. Under this program, participants will monitor the manual unloading process and close the vent as soon as practical, further reducing emissions.

These programs are based on industry experience of proven, cost-effective methods and many operators have implemented similar efforts. As part of this initiative participants will begin implementing and phasing these three emission reduction programs, into their operations beginning January 1st, 2018. And to demonstrate our progress and hold ourselves accountable, participants have also committed to annual reporting that will be made available to the public.

Collectively, these environmental performance programs will make a significant reduction in emissions associated with natural gas and oil production. Shell looks forward to working with our colleagues in the industry to continue making improvements to our environmental performance.

Now I’m pleased to introduce Mark Berg from Pioneer Natural Resources.

Mark Berg, Pioneer Natural Resources

Thank you, Greg. This is Mark Berg, and I am the executive vice president, Corporate/Vertically Integrated Operations at Pioneer Natural Resources. Pioneer is happy to be participating in The Environmental Partnership, an industry-led, voluntary initiative that we believe will make a real difference in providing environmental leadership.

At its launch, The Environmental Partnership has 26 participants, representing a diverse cross-section of American companies involved in natural gas and oil production. And in the year ahead, the Environmental Partnership will be working to build on this solid foundation to recruit even more companies who share our vision and want to play an active role in continually improving our industry’s environmental performance.

The Environmental Partnership will have three established principles guiding its direction. They are taking action, learning and collaborating. Through the environmental performance programs outlined by Greg, The Environmental Partnership will be taking action. But equally important will be the principles of learning and collaborating. Participants in The Environmental Partnership have committed to continued learning from experts about the latest innovations and practices that can further reduce their own environmental footprint. The Environmental Partnership will also serve as a platform for collaboration, giving participating companies the opportunity to share scientific data as well as best practices.

As mentioned, the first initiative of The Environmental Partnership is focused on reducing emissions from natural gas and oil production. But the Partnership is structured so that it can evolve as needed to address other environmental considerations.

We at Pioneer are glad to participate in this voluntary initiative that will allow even more companies to develop critical energy resources in an even more environmentally responsible manner.

The growth in natural gas and oil production has helped the United States utilize more affordable and reliable energy. And as Erik noted, we have been able to produce more natural gas while lowering emissions. But rather than rest on these accomplishments, this industry is seeking to build on them. The Environmental Partnership will help America’s natural gas and oil industry share goals, technologies and best practices that will make our environmental performance even stronger.

You can learn more about The Environmental Partnership at the new website:

Thank you all for joining us to learn more about this initiative. And with that, we would be happy to answer your questions.