Natural Gas Industry Continues to Reduce Methane Emissions

In the midst of the energy abundance within the US, every company within the natural gas industry has been challenged with reducing its methane emissions and working toward a low carbon future.  The effective use of the current technologies and work practices has had a meaningful impact on methane emissions reductions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane emissions from the energy sector decreased 14 percent from 1990 to 2016, while natural gas output increased by more than 50 percent during the same period.

ONE Future members are committed to and will continue to be focused on reducing methane emissions and achieving our goal of 1% methane intensity by 2025. ONE Future strongly believes that any regulatory framework must provide a pathway for flexible, cost-effective and efficient methods to achieve reductions. Our results to date prove that this approach works.

The 2018 Methane Intensity Report was released in the Fall of 2019; the coalition registered a 2018 methane intensity number of 0.326% while showing an increase in production and throughput in each sector of the value chain. This was a decrease in methane intensity of 41% from 2017 – demonstrating that the natural gas industry can minimize methane emissions and increase production and throughput.

One of the key reasons that ONE Future members have been successful is the deployment of new technologies both in the detection and even prevention of methane emissions. We believe that as new technologies continue to come to market and are deployed that emissions will continue to be driven down and in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) released a study this week based on ONE Future members 2017 methane emissions data. The study focused on emissions on a regional basis in an effort to determine the marginal abatement costs of potential emissions reductions on a regional basis. The results show that the marginal abatement cost in different regions can be significantly different. In our opinion utilizing a one size fits all approach is counter-productive, creating a disincentive for new technologies.

In the last 15 years America has become the world’s leading energy producer thanks to the natural gas industry. New technology has been the key for that success. New technology and the flexibility to deploy the technology in cost-effctive manner will be the key to driving down methane emissions.